The Lincoln Electric Company tried to grab the domain name WearTech.com , using a 2013 trademark and a UDRP complaint, from EXISTech Corporation that registered the domain name and has been using it since 1996. Not only that but EXISTech Corporation has been using the term since 1974.
The complaint was denied at the “Forum” (previously known as the National Arbitration Forum).
Complainant (The Lincoln Electric Company) was a manufacturer of welding, cutting, and joining products. Complainant has associated with its products and services the WEARTECH mark and has registered the mark with the likes of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (e.g., Reg. No. 4,374,586, registered July 30, 2013). Complainant also claimed to have rights that date back more than 20 years in the United States.
Respondent (EXISTech Corporation) said that its principal Dr. Mann is an inventor of wearable computing products, and sold the first wearable computer in 1974, and has used the trade name and mark “WEARTECH” since at least as early as that year. Respondent has maintained ownership and an active website through WearTech.com since its initial registration in 1996. Respondent’s WearTech.com registration predated Complainant’s rights in the WEARTECH mark.
The Panel did not agree that Complainant had established any rights which dated back to any time prior to April 28, 2012. The Panel also found that Complainant failed to meet the burden of proof of bad faith registration so the complaint for the domain name WearTech.com was denied.
The Panel did not think that this was a reverse domain name hijacking attempt just because the Complainant has a trademark. This was a bad call. This was clearly an attempt to grab a domain name from its rightful owner.