UDRP doesn’t solve trademark disputes

UDRP is a blunt instrument that should only be used for clear-cut cybersquatting.

UDRP in red on a cream background

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was designed to swiftly adjudicate cases of cybersquatting. It was not designed to settle trademark disputes between two like-named entities.

A recently decided case over ShopNordicNest.com is a case in point.

The Complainant, Nordic Nest AB, operates retail locations under the Nordic Nest name and a website at NordicNest.com. It used to be called Scandinavian Design Center but changed its trading name to “Nordic Nest” in May 2019. It operated a limited online site at NordicNest.com before the Respondent registered its domain.

The Respondent operates an online store and has a brick-and-mortar location in California called Nordic Nest. The companies have limited overlap in goods. When it created its business, the Complainant did not have a U.S. trademark for Nordic Nest.

There might be a legitimate trademark dispute between these two companies. But this is certainly not a case of cybersquatting. To order the transfer of a domain name from a legitimate operating business is an extreme action and shouldn’t be taken lightly. In almost all cases where a domain owner truly uses a domain name, panels need to proceed with caution.

That’s what panelist Antony Gold did in this case. He went to the Wayback Machine to verify some of the details and timeline. He then ruled that the Complainant failed to show that the Respondent lacked legitimate rights or interests in the domain, and failed to show that it was registered in bad faith. He rejected Nordic Nest AB’s case.

 

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