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UDRP complaint for bilt.net denied at WIPO (Listing a domain for sale is not bad faith)

Panelist dismisses the UDRP complaint at WIPO for the domain bilt.net while finding that “Merely listing a domain name for sale, or for possible sale, on the Sedo platform usually is not, of itself, sufficient to demonstrate bad faith registration and use.”.

The disputed domain name bilt.net was registered on August 27, 2010. The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center on July 3, 2012.

The Complainant was Ballarpur Industries Limited,a manufacturer of writing and printing paper, other paper products and stationary, from India and the Respondent was Chris Vogles from Los Angeles. The Complainant only made some very broad accusations in it’s complaint while the Respondent did not file any substantive submissions.

Panel said that Respondent appeared to be using the disputed domain name as a rudimentary directory for companies, businesses and places with the term “bilt” in their name. The website resolving from the disputed domain name also included a link “buy now” which diverted users to a Sedo advertising page, which included the following statement in a box: “Buy this domain. The domain bilt.net may be for sale by its owner!”

The Panel found that the disputed domain name was confusingly similar to the Complainant’s marks and as such, the first element of the UDRP, Identical or Confusingly Similar, was satisfied.

Because the Respondent did not file a response and the Complainant only made very limited submissions in relation to the second element of the UDRP, Rights or Legitimate Interests, the Panel did not decide this issue and in light of the Panel’s decision in relation to bad faith below, it said that it was unnecessary for it to finally decide this point.

The Panel noted that while the Complainant asserted that it and its marks were well-known outside of India, it provided little evidence to support this assertion. In the absence of such evidence, the Panel could not make a finding that the Respondent knew, or ought to have known, of the Complainant when registering and using the disputed domain name and thus bad faith cannot be established. Further, the Respondent’s current use of the disputed domain name does not evidence that the Respondent has knowledge of the Complainant, or that the Respondent is intentionally attempting to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or location. For these reasons the third element of the UDRP, Registered and Used in Bad Faith, could not be established. While the Respondent may be offering the disputed domain name for sale (and the evidence to support this is not conclusive), there was no evidence to suggest that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to sell it for valuable consideration in excess of his documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the disputed domain name. Panel said that merely listing a domain name for sale, or for possible sale, on the Sedo platform usually is not, of itself, sufficient to demonstrate bad faith registration and use.

Finally, the Panel noted that the Complainant submitted that the Respondent was engaging in passing off and misusing the Complainant’s trade marks. The Panel made clear that whether the Respondent engaged in passing off or trade mark infringement are not proper matters for determination by the Panel under the UDRP Policy. There was insufficient evidence before the Panel to draw any conclusion in this regard.

The Panel found that the Complainant failed to establish any of the instances of bad faith set out in the UDRP Policy and there was nothing to compel the Panel to make a finding of bad faith for other reasons. As such, the Panel did not find that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith and because of that the Complaint was denied.

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About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

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