Regular readers may be aware that the guys behind SlashGear
(among others) have been involved in a domain name dispute with Motorola since October last year
. The URL in question is MOTORAZR.com
, which we registered back in July 2004, and has been a source of cellphone related news ever since.
Three aspects of Motorola's complaint were ruled on: that the domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which they have rights; that we, the current owners of MOTORAZR.com, had neither rights nor legitimate interests in the domain, and that we had registered and used it in "bad faith".
The WIPO Administrative Panel invited Motorola on several occasions to prove use of the MOTORAZR mark before they registered it in June 2005, abut they were unable or unwilling to do so. Instead, they claimed that anything involving MOTO (which had been registered back in 2001) should come under the Motorola umbrella and be protected as a mark of their own. The panel, reasonably, declined to give Motorola rights to everything from MOTORWAYS to the MOTORCYCLES that drive along them.
As for using MOTORAZR.com in "bad faith", the panel disagreed with Motorola's claim:
"[Motorola has given] no explanation of why the evidence of [their] real and actual use of MOTORAZR is so thin, why a year passed from product launch to trademark application, and why [they] failed to respond to the [WIPO] Panel’s express invitation to provide further information"
Because of that, the panel also factored out Motorola's suggestion that MOTORAZR.com was expressly designed to misdirect readers into an advertising site.
Motorola's claim, then, was dismissed, in no small part due to the fact that they apparently had no substance to back up their claims.
Please find attached the full text of the decision issued on February 15, 2007 by the Administrative Panel in the above-referenced case.
The Administrative Panel’s finding is as follows:
"For all the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied."
Domain disputes are happening every day, many of them large companies looming large over individuals and demanding they hand over their coveted URL. As this author can confirm it's undoubtedly a scary situation to find yourself in, and the idea of fighting it seems vaguely farcical when you consider the legal might these companies have. Yet if there's one thing we know now it's that simply because a corporation is big, it doesn't mean they're always in the right - or that they've done their homework before putting in a complaint.
Click through for detailed response from Mr. Thomas D. Halket - Sole Panelist.