RCC.com: UDRP Filed by Royal Caribbean

28

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. has filed a UDRP against the high value RCC.com domain name. The UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The UDRP is WIPO Case D2019-1042. According to UDRP.Tools, there have only been two other UDRP filings involving LLL.com domain names so far in 2019.

RCC.com is currently registered to BQDN.com, the domain name brokerage firm operated by James Booth. In a comment posted on this publication in December of 2016, James mentioned that his company had recently acquired the domain name. RCC.com currently forwards to an offer form on the Uniregistry Marketplace where it is listed for sale.

In my opinion, RCC.com is worth mid five figures as an investment, but as with any three letter .com domain name, it could be worth more to the right buyer.

Royal Caribbean operates its flagship website on RoyalCaribbean.com, and the parent company uses RCLCorporate.com for its website. In addition, the company’s investor relations website is RCLInvestor.com. The company also owns the RCCL.com domain name, which forwards to RoyalCaribbean.com. It looks like the company uses @RCCL.com for its Whois email and possibly corporate email addresses.

There are quite a few entities that use RCC as their acronym or initials. In fact, a Google search of “RCC” using an incognito browser window doesn’t even show Royal Caribbean in the top 10 results for me. Many of the top results when I searched were community colleges and congregational churches. One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of RCC is RC Cola. I think it will be difficult for Royal Caribbean to prove that a valuable LLL.com domain name like this was registered and is being used in bad faith when there are so many other entities that have RCC as its initials.

From what I can see on its website, it does not appear that Royal Caribbean uses “RCC” in its branding or marketing. In fact, on the Royal Caribbean parent company website, “RCL” is referenced many times, but I don’t see any reference to “RCC.” On the Royal Caribbean investor website, the external link to the corporate entity (which I believe filed the UDRP) is listed as “RCL Corporate.”

Perhaps interestingly, another cruise line, MSC, filed a UDRP to get MSC.com and lost. Because MSC now owns MSC.com, I am sure the company paid a lot of money to buy it from the registrant. The domain name had previously been acquired for nearly $50,000 USD, so I would assume MSC ended up paying into the six figures to buy that domain name from the registrant after the UDRP failed.

Based on what I can see, I don’t see how Royal Caribbean is going to win this valuable domain name via UDRP. I will share an update when the decision is published.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article.

    Here is Royal Caribbean’s investor/corporate email:

    CorporateCommunications@rccl.com

    If we as a domain community want to show a stronger backbone when companies try to take our assets, we need to collectively express our opposition and have our voices heard. Taking a minute now and sending a quick email disapproving of Royal Caribbean’s attempt to seize this domain from a member of our community will show this aggressive offender that what they are attempting to do is not okay and that we are watching.

    Help defend our rights as a community.

  2. The price of LLL.com domains just went UP!
    It’s called demand!
    And assuming a 3 member panel and able attorney, an RDNH decision sure to follow.
    This particular domain just became a 7 figure one or a lifetime of free cruises.

  3. There needs to be a Domain Hijacking Penalty for this type of abuse of the UDRP process. It should be that if the panel finds Domain Name Hijacking which is basically an attempt of theft then the domain in question has a professional valuation to determine value. Then that value becomes a penalty fine paid by the guilty party. That amount is awarded to the domain name owner with 25% going to the arbitration service.

    • And for that to be even considered, I am sure trademark interests would demand domain owners pay a financial penalty when they lose a UDRP.

      Put simply, it will never happen.

      • No, Elliot, because there still would not be any penalty for Win or Lose the case but ONLY when finding of Bad Faith DOMAIN NAME HIJACKING. That is a separate issue that the panelists address after deciding the case.

        • Why would trademark interests, who never give an inch, be willing to agree to that without concessions on the other side?

          I am curious if you have legal experience and/or ICANN experience.

          • This is exactly what I have been arguing in multiple blogs since long before Kevin showed up, but I’m glad to see someone else like him expressing the same voice of logic and reason.

            This ZM article conspicuously lacks a date of publication, by the way. I wonder if it was published after all the work I put into getting people to stop framing the issue as “loser pays.”

            “Loser pays” is really a bit of a giant straw man. I’m sure no rational person in domaining who has had a few seconds or few minutes to think it through would support “loser pays.”

            As Kevin (and I) have so rightly pointed out, the issue is “abuse of process.” Fraud. Acting dishonestly and in bad faith, with culpable malice. By not having a penalty for RDNH, the organizations involved are effectively saying people can engage in fraudulent misuse of the process all they want as long as they pay the fee.

          • Also, follow the money:

            Penalty for abuse of process would lead to less UDRP filings, which would mean less hiring of DN attorneys.

            😉

  4. Zak Muskovich says that that the number of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking are few. That is the only category I was proposing the penalty because it is an egregious attack on the UDRP system. I get what Zak and you are saying, don’t risk the establishment of a loser pays UDRP. I can’t argue with your logic even though the finding of RDNH is a category outside of the the finding of the winner and loser in a UDRP arbitration where there should not be a loser pays. A penalty should only be applied to the finding of RDNH because that is an abuse of the UDRP process not of the Trademark system which belongs to the USPTO in the US. The UDRP process really is too simple and ripe for abuse especially when it comes to Acronyms, Generic and Geographic word domains where there needs to be a strong establishment of secondary meaning for a trademark to be established, registered and enforceable. And when there is a registered trademark there is also senior and junior user considerations. Look at the Nissan.com case. Legitimate trademarks holders have constructive notice once they have a registered mark and they can go after anybody who infringes even if they are not aware of their domain is a protected trademark for a monetary award through the courts. But here is a little known fact that sometimes a large company with a Trademark may actually pay someone a small amount of money with a close but not exact match on the infringement to quickly settle and protect their mark. I have see this happen. Personally I have experience with UDRP, Federal Lawsuit, State Lawsuit and USPTO Appeal.

  5. Another way for hijackers to “pay” is through damage to their reputation. When a RDNH decision is made, that is usually the end of it except the discussion that takes place here on domain blogs. Rick uses his Hall of Shame to shine light on those corporations who try to seize the assets he rightfully owns. That’s one way to go about it.

    Another way is to try to disseminate news of the adverse ruling wider into the general public through articles, social media, and the like. So that when there is a RDNH determination, the “shameful” facts are known by more of the general public, the Complainant’s customers, potential customers, peers, etc. This does not help the person who successfully defended the case directly, but it might help all domain investors indirectly over the long run. Taking a hit to your reputation is a deterrent that might make companies think twice before filing a UDRP and that might reduce the number of cases that are filed.

    That is PR/image management and most industries/associations/trade interests use it to influence public opinion and promote and advance their interests. Except for domain investors, who are mostly disunited and voiceless, and like prey waiting to be picked off by the next UDRP abuser. And so this keeps happening more and more.

  6. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/1992-05-24/royal-caribbean-may-be-taking-on-water

    https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/13488-royal-caribbean-2005-results.html

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8600535494550141770&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

    Above are mentions of “RCC” from legitimate and dated sources. The last link cites a case CABRERA ESPINAL v. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD in 2001 where “RCC” was actively used in citations throughout.

    I do not believe this domain meets the threshhold required for a UDRP, especially if James had an interest in the acronym “RCC” at the time of acquisition. Although, I would assume James tried to work a deal with them and this was their way of handling it.

    Either way, if and when this moves to a federal lawsuit Royal can obviously bleed the name a way in defense costs. James needs to prevail in the UDRP and work to find a deal before they file suit.

    The good thing is we know Royal has an interest in the domain.

  7. I don’t think that RCC meets the definition of a trademark which is suppose to be a source-identifier of goods and services and whereas infringement is causing confusion to consumers to indicating the source of the goods and services. Their brand is ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES. An acronym must develop secondary meaning to become a legitimate trademark. Examples would be ATT and IBM. When was the last time the brand “American, Telephone and Telegraph” was used? And there is a big difference between a Branded Acronym and an Abbreviation use like in a legal doc: “Above are mentions of “RCC” from legitimate and dated sources. The last link cites a case CABRERA ESPINAL v. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD in 2001 where “RCC” was actively used in citations throughout.” This was also in the same source “collective bargaining agreement” that was cited throughout as “CBA” which does not make it a trademark.

    • Kevin you’re preaching to the choir here with that. And I hope you saw my replies above. Thanks for commenting up there.

  8. “I am deeply disappointed by Royal Caribbean Cruises’ recent UDRP case filing against the owner of RCC.com in an unwarranted attempt to take possession of the domain name without paying for it.

    RCC is a generic term that is used by many businesses and organizations. First, Royal Caribbean is known in the marketplace as Royal Caribbean, not RCC. Second, while RCC happens to be Royal Caribbean’s acronym, that does not mean Royal Caribbean owns all rights to it, or has any more right to possess the domain name than any other parties, including its current owner.

    The current owner of the RCC.com domain is well within his legal rights to own the name. He is not doing anything to infringe on Royal Caribbean’s brand. I presume you tried to buy the domain but would not agree to the asking price. But that is how business is done. When a building is owned, you pay the price, negotiate a price, or you don’t purchase it. You do not try to seize it simply because you do not want to pay the owner’s asking price.

    If the domain in question was RoyalCaribbean.com then I would fully support your efforts, because that is clearly an abuse of your trade name. But RCC.com is not. I believe you have been ill-served by your legal team and whoever else in your organization decided to initiate this proceeding.

    Ultimately, Royal Caribbean Cruises will lose the case based on the facts and will take a hit to its reputation when word of this attempted seizure spreads. I can personally say that I will not take any more cruises on Royal Caribbean because of this action. It is not fair and not right. And I will let friends, family, business partners, etc know the details to and ask them not to patronize Royal Caribbean either.

    I request that you consider rescinding your filing and working out a mutually-agreeable deal with the domain’s owner. That is the proper way to do business and would project a positive brand image for Royal Caribbean Cruises. Trying to strongarm an as asset away from a hardworking small businessperson is not.

    Thank you for taking the time to listen to my feedback. I speak for myself only and my views are mine only, not the domain owner. But please note that my views represent those of a large majority of the many domain name owners and registrants around the world. They are watching this development with dismay.”

  9. Besides the obvious generic nature of the 3 characters domain names, there is also the Doctrine of Laches argument. A legal argument that finds that trademark owners who wait an unreasonable amount of time to take action to defend their trademark against someone who they think is infringing on it, may lose their case because not acting to protect their mark for such a long time is akin to agreeing that the actions of the respondent is not an infringement. Respondent may invest a great deal of time and money on his/her own product or service since no one challenged the registration or the business they conduct. This domain name was registered in 1992, Which means there was a 27 years of waiting to take action on the part of complainant (Royal Caribbean). They MUST explains WHY they never took action, and why NOW.

Leave a Reply