At the end of May, insurance giant MetLife filed a UDRP for the domain name MetLifeStadium.com, which had been registered by a person in New Jersey in 2009. The company was awarded the domain name at the end of June, and it was just announced that it acquired naming rights for the New Meadowlands Arena, where the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets play football.
It appears that the registrant of the domain name made a pretty good guess that MetLife would end up acquiring the naming rights, well before it happened. In his response, the respondent claimed he registered the domain name “to create a fan based website/blog related strictly to the social network of the fans associated with any sports or venue performance at the New Meadowlands Stadium.”
One thing people should be aware of before purchasing any domain name that contains a well known trademark is that simply by adding a word to it does not make it safe to own and/or use. According to the panelist in the proceeding, “Adding a generic term to Complainant’s mark fails to remove the Disputed Domain Name from the realm of confusing similarity.” There are of course exceptions to this, but that is a good rule of thumb.
That being said, if the domain owner may have been able to use it legitimately, this panel ruled that he hadn’t started, and the domain name had not been used as the respondent claimed to have intended prior to the UDRP filing. “This failure to actively use the Disputed Domain Name is not a bona fide offering of goods or services.”
In my opinion, it’s unfortunate that MetLife had to pay $1,500 to file a UDRP like this, but at least the company was able to get a domain name they will surely use for many years ahead. The domain name does not yet resolve.