NAF Rules In Domain Name Cases

Monday, October 1, 2007 - 01:00

The National Arbitration Forum recently issued decisions on the rights to Univision.tv; Webkinzz.com, Web-kniz.com and Weblinz.com; and ChocolateKiss.com.

The following three decisions were made in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) by independent and neutral arbitrators on the National Arbitration Forum's panel.

Univision.tv

On June 7, Univision Communications Inc., the premier Spanish-language media company in the United States, submitted a complaint electronically with the National Arbitration Forum asserting legal rights to the domain name Univision.tv. The complainant requested the dispute be decided by a three-member panel.

The panel concluded that the domain name is identical to the registered trademark UNIVISION with the addition of the .tv extension. Respondent and registered owner Edmundo Norte could not support his claim of an intent for future use as a parody site and did not demonstrate rights to or legitimate interests in Univision.tv. On August 16, Univision.tv was ordered to be transferred to Univision Communications Inc.

Webkinzz.com

Ganz, owner of Webkinz a popular line of real and virtual stuffed animals, submitted a complaint electronically on May 21. The National Arbitration Forum panelist found that the domain names Webkinzz.com, Webkniz.com, and Weblinz.com were registered by renowned cybersquatter Texas International Property Associates.

The panel found that the three disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the WEBKINZ mark all with slight typographical variations. The panel went on to find that erroneous variations of complainant's WEBKINZ mark are typical of typosquatting - using a website to profit from the mistyping of someone else's trademark - and prove the respondent's lack of rights and legitimate interests. Ganz was granted the rights to Webkinzz.com, Webkniz.com, and Weblinz.com on July 19.

ChocolateKiss.com

The Hershey Company filed a claim electronically on April 20 against respondent R. Reaves. Complainant, the Hershey Company, requested that the dispute over ChocolateKiss.com be handled by a panel of three National Arbitration Forum arbitrators.

The panel found that Choco-lateKiss.com was confusingly similar to complainant's KISSES mark, as the term "chocolate" was simply descriptive of complainant's business and the combination of the terms was calculated to suggest the involvement of complainant. The panel also found that respondent lacked rights or legitimate interests because the content displayed on respondent's website gave the erroneous impression that it was affiliated with complainant. The panel granted complainant's request for a transfer of the domain name on June 8.