Here’s a recently filed UDRP that is a bit frustrating to see as a professional domain investor.
Harvard Lampoon, a “humor publication” produced by college students at the esteemed Harvard University, has filed a UDRP for the seemingly descriptive domain name, Lampoon.com. The domain name is owned by Reflex Publishing, a company that holds one of the finest portfolios of descriptive/generic domain names.
Lampoon.com currently resolves to a standard Reflex Publishing PPC page with a wide variety of links. From what I can tell, it does not appear that Reflex is targeting or tailoring the links to capitalize on traffic from people looking for the Harvard Lampoon. Additionally, with the “CyberFinder.com” title (found on most Reflex Publishing landing pages), I can’t believe anyone with a brain would confuse this with the Harvard Lampoon website.
Aside from the term “lampoon” being a descriptive word, and in addition to the Harvard Lampoon publication, there’s also the National Lampoon, Chicago Lampoon, and of course the beloved National Lampoon’s Vacation, a great movie starring Chevy Chase. I don’t see how anyone would think they have rights to this domain name. It would almost be like Bank of America asserting it has rights to Bank.com (although Harvard does have a mark for the term Lampoon – see below).
Reflex Publishing appears to have owned Lampoon.com since at the very least 2005 and likely 1998 (records only go through 2005 for this one). Since the Harvard Lampoon has been around since the 1800s, what the heck has the organization been doing for the last several years if it thinks it has more rights to this domain name than Reflex? Why did they wait at least 6 years and maybe as long as 13 years to take action?
Yes, Harvard Lampoon has at least 2 live marks for Lampoon according to the USPTO, but I don’t see what took it so long to try and exercise its rights via UDRP. I wonder if the doctrine of laches would be applicable in this situation.