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Sumner popularly known as Sting v. Urvan

World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration, July 20, 2000

FACTS
Urvan was the registrant of the domain name sting.com.
Sting contacted Urvan, Urvan linked the domain name to another site (gunbroker.com), and Urvan offered to sell Sting the domain name registration for $25,000.

PROCEUDRE
Sting filed an action pursuant to the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy. All domain name registrants who register domain names with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers agree by contract to be subject to the UDRP.

ISSUE
Was there sufficient evidence to cancel or transfer the domain name registration?

HOLDING
No.

REASONING
Cancelling or transferring a domain name registration requires 3 things: (1) that the domain name is identical to or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights, (2) that the registrant has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name, and that (3) the domain name was registered and used in bad faith.

(1) Although Sumner is world famous under the name Sting, it does not follow that he has rights in Sting as a trademark or service mark.

(2) In this case, “sting” is a common word in the English language. Therefore, it is possible that there was a plausible legitimate use to which Urvan could put the domain name. This is what the arbitrator really relied on in denying Sting’s complaint.

(3) Although the fact that Urvan offered to sell the domain name is consistent with Sting’s charge of bad faith, it doesn’t prove that Urvan’s primary intent was to sell the domain name.

DISPOSITION
Arbitration award in favor of Urvan.


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