Seven IP attorneys walk into a bar…

Couldn’t they have just settled this dispute at an INTA meeting?

UDRP in red on a cream background

A recent UDRP case featured seven IP attorneys: the Complainant, the Complainant’s counsel, the Respondent, the Respondent’s counsel, and three IP attorneys as panelists.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey J. Antonelli, Ltd hired Weaver Robinson Law Firm, PLLC, to file a UDRP against The Law Offices of Stephen C. Vondran, P.C., who attorney John Berryhill represented. Brian Winterfeldt, Francine Tan and Richard Lyon made up the World Intellectual Property Organization panel.

The case was over the domain name TorrentDefenders.com. The Complainant owns Torrent-Defenders.com, which it uses to blog about copyright defense and to solicit client consultations. The Respondent owns TorrentDefenders.com, which it forwards to a page on its site promoting copyright infringement/torrent defense services.

The Complainant has a U.S. trademark for Torrent Defenders, filed in 2018 and registered in 2019. The Respondent registered the domain in 2016. While the Complainant claims earlier common law rights, it did not provide sufficient evidence to the panel.

The panel found (pdf) that the Complainant failed to show that the Respondent lacked rights or legitimate interests and failed to show it registered the domain in bad faith.

The majority of the WIPO panel found this to be a case of reverse domain name hijacking. Interestingly, it doesn’t say which panelist apparently disagreed, nor is there a dissenting opinion.

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