UDRP complaint for TheIDShop.com is dismissed because of the doctrine of laches

UDRP complaint for TheIDShop.com was dismissed at the National Arbitration Forum. The decision of the panel was that the Complaint should be barred by the doctrine of laches. Respondent raised the issue of laches as a defense to the Complaint.  Because the Panel agreed, the Panel found it unnecessary to consider the three elements of the Policy. Despite having the opportunity to do so, Complainant offered no explanation for the 14-year delay in bringing this Complaint.

Complainant was Laminex, Inc., South Carolina, USA. Respondent was Yan Smith, represented by Brett E. Lewis of Lewis & Lin LLC, New York, USA.

Respondent registered the theidshop.com domain name on April 29, 1998.

Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum on November 13, 2012. Pursuant to Respondent’s request to have the dispute decided by a three-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed the Hon. Neil Anthony Brown QC, the Hon. Bruce Meyerson (Ret.) and John Upchurch as Panelists.

Complainant owns a trademark registration for the ID SHOP mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 1,562,775 registered October 24, 1989).

Respondent has owned and operated a novelty ID shop, housed at the theidshop.com domain, since June 1998. Respondent formed the Texas limited liability company, “The ID Shop, LLC,” in December 2003. Respondent said that Complainant’s claims should be barred on the basis of laches.

Here is what the three member Panel had to say about why it barred the complaint because of the doctrine of laches:

Respondent has raised the issue of laches as a defense to the Complaint.  Because the Panel agrees, the Panel finds it unnecessary to consider the three elements of the Policy.

The relationship of laches to UDRP proceedings was discussed at length in craigslist, Inc. v. Craig Solomon Online Servs., FA 1367598 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 1, 2011).  In that case the complaining party offered no explanation for a nine-year delay in initiating the complaint. […]

Here, the record reflects the following.  Respondent registered the domain name in 1998 and has consistently done business selling novelty IDs since then, and under the name THE ID SHOP since 2003.  Respondent has invested substantial sums promoting its business and advertising that business on the Internet through the <theidshop.com> domain name.

The Complainant holds a trademark with the USPTO for the ID SHOP mark and has used that mark since 1989.  The focus of Complainant’s business is in the security industry where it works with hospitals, schools, manufacturing operations and other organizations which require valid photo identification cards.

Despite having the opportunity to do so, Complainant has offered no explanation for the 14-year delay in bringing this Complaint.  In light of the unexplained delay in bringing this proceeding, and the demonstrable harm to Respondent should the domain name be transferred, the Panel concludes that under the doctrine of laches, relief should be denied.

Because the Complaint is barred by the doctrine of laches, the Panel concludes that relief shall be 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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