I was browsing through some recently filed UDRP cases, when a domain name popped out at me. A UDRP was filed against AmericansJourney.com by Chewy at the World Intellectual Property Organization. It is WIPO case #D2022-3876.
On its own and without initially doing any background searching, the AmericansJourney.com domain name sounds somewhat defensibly generic. I could see it being a blog about an American’s journey though the world or something like that. Compared to a more clearly infringing domain name like ChewyPetSupplies.com, AmericansJourney.com does not seem super-infringing on a well-known brand name. There’s often more to the story, and this case is no different.
A couple of Google searches for that term showed me there is a pet food brand called American Journey. The matching AmericanJourney.com domain name forwards to a page within the Chewy.com website. My guess is that American Journey is a brand owned by Chewy.
The fact that Chewy appears to have a brand called American Journey does not mean the AmericansJourney.com domain name is infringing, though. It could be, but it all depends on the usage of the domain name. An American operating a blog about a journey they are on or took would likely be fair use for this domain name, in my opinion.
If you look at a screenshot from DomainTools, you can see why Chewy may have filed the UDRP. It looks like someone created a pet food related website with the title, American Journey. In addition, it looks like bags with the American Journey logo are shown on the landing page.
A Whois record at DomainTools shows AmericansJourney.com was created in mid-August of this year. I would imagine Chewy received complaints about the domain name or the company’s IP enforcement team found it on its own.
I often see companies filing UDRPs because reportedly infringing domain names were used in phishing attacks or had infringing PPC links showing. I don’t know if there was any type of phishing involved here, but it looks like Chewy is unhappy with the fact that a similar domain name is being used in a manner that would suggest a relationship with the American Journey brand.
Quite a few brands abuse the UDRP system to take control of valuable domain names. In this case, I think Chewy is doing a good job protecting its brand and IP rights. I think this UDRP filing shows what brands are up against.
slam dunk infringing STUPID STUPID on the part of the respondent.
AmericansJourney.com is certanly worth the annual price of renewal on its own intuitive nature.