Google Wins Huge UDRP

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This morning, The National Arbitration Forum posted a UDRP decision that was decided in favor of the complainant, Google. The UDRP covered hundreds of domain names with the Google trademark in them. Some of the domain names that were registered by the respondent include:

  • googlebarack.com
  • googlemiamiheat.com
  • googleroyalbankofscotland.com
  • googleroyalbankofscotland.com
  • googlewesternunion.com
  • googlelarealestate.com

According to Google’s response in the UDRP filing, “Respondent has recently engaged in one of the most aggressive campaigns of domain name infringement that Complainant has encountered, having registered at least 750 domain names subject to this Complaint.” It appears that the domain names contained a Google trademark and either a search term like “real estate” or another trademark like “Western Union.”

The domain owner’s response discussed Google’s trademarks: “Respondent’s petitions to cancel two of the Complainant’s US trademark registrations for the GOOGLE mark, which were filed weeks after the initiation of the instant proceedings, ‘is an inappropriate attempt to subvert the due process provisions built into the UDRP process.‘”

The domain owner contended that Google has seemingly become a generic term: “The Complainant has been aware for some time that its mark is being used generically as at transitive verb meaning “to search the Internet”. Since “google” is now considered a generic term, the proper forum to decide the issue is the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board or the courts.”

The three panelists found in favor of Google, and all of the domain names have been ordered to be transferred to Google.

One interesting facet in this is that Google will own hundreds of domain names it arguably didn’t want to own but didn’t want someone else to own either. It will be interesting to see if they let these names drop or choose to renew them for thousands of dollars a year.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t mind having the actual RBS ask them for it politely—they might even not need one of those overweight legal document big companies enjoy so much: I mean, RBS isn’t going to lie about a partnership with the Big G, or mess with that brand. They probably wouldn’t even mess with the re-addressing protocol. Neither would the White House, Western Union or the Heat.

    I’m almost certain those institution actually were approached by the squatters (who would never step into the Google’s lair) didn’t have a taskforce to deal with that, and a Googler told them they do that for breakfast, and were happy to provide a precedent for all the rest.

  2. So can Royal Bank of Scotland now launch a UDRP against Google for owning googleroyalbankofscotland.com?

    Sure, but they have to prove their claims. Then again, they might decide it’s not worthwhile, especially if people aren’t likely to visit that domain to find them online.

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