A UDRP was filed against the IMI.com domain name a little over a month ago. The decision was just published on the NAF website, and I am shocked that it went in favor of the complainant, despite the fact the respondent did not file a response to the UDRP.
The complainant in the UDRP is a company called Irving Materials, Inc. I had never heard of the company before I saw the UDRP filing, but their logo has “IMI” in it and the company was one of the top 10 or so results for IMI. I can see why this company would want the domain name, but I don’t agree with the decision that was rendered.
Although the respondent did not file a response, I think the publicly available Whois information makes it clear why it owns the IMI.com domain name (note the admin organization name, Internet Marketing, Inc.). This has been the case since at least 2000, according to the Whois History tool at DomainTools. I wouldn’t necessarily expect the panelist to use an account at DomainTools to see how long it has been registered to the registrant, but the current Whois information shows the company name. This also matches the header on the IMI.com landing page.
Putting that aside for a moment, there is something else I can not reconcile:
“Complainant registered the IMI mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (e.g. Reg. No. 2,794,396, registered Dec. 16, 2003)”
Later in the decision, this was written:
“(b) Respondent registered the domain name on March 15, 1994″
If the complainant registered the IMI trademark in 2003 and the respondent registered the domain name in 1994, I don’t see how the domain name was registered in bad faith. From the decision, I understand that the company was founded in 1965 and apparently is a well known construction materials company. I can’t recall ever hearing of the company, so I don’t think it is fair that the domain owner should have known about this company, especially since the trademark wasn’t registered until 9 years after the domain name was registered. I also don’t see how anyone who visits IMI.com would be confused since the top of the website says Internet Marketing, Inc.
The UDRP panelist in the UDRP was the Honourable Neil Anthony Brown QC. In my opinion, Mr. Brown is one of the best panelists out there who always seems to look at both sides fairly. I think the decision was wrong (granted I am not a lawyer and I tend to be biased in favor of generic domain name owners). We will see if the domain registrant files a court action to try and retain the domain name.
Update: It looks like the domain registrant filed a lawsuit to retain the domain name.