Dispute Gives Guidance on Common One Word Domains

Sage Global Services Limited is a well-known British company that is commonly known as Sage and operates on The company recently filed a UDRP at the World Intellectual Property Organization against the domain name, which is owned by a domain investor. The decision was published on Friday, and it was brought to my attention by the Internet Commerce Association.

The three member WIPO panel – John Swinson, W. Scott Blackmer, and Tony Willoughby – ruled in favor of the domain registrant. The panel declined to rule that this was Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, but that has little bearing on the outcome since the registrant will retain the domain name.

Considering that “sage” is a common dictionary word, the outcome is not surprising. What is notable, however, is the commentary from the panel regarding dictionary domain names and the burden of searching for trademarks prior to acquisition of the domain name:

“The Panel considers that this is not a case where an obligation to conduct searches should be imposed on the Respondent because “sage” is a dictionary term.”

I recommend reading the entire decision, including Tony Willoughby’s concurring opinion, to understand the full context of this decision. I also recommend reading the case commentary written by ICA General Counsel, Zak Muscovitch for further insight.

Unlike the US court system, case law is not established with each published UDRP decision. Subsequent panels could disagree with this perspective. However, it is a decision worth noting for domain investors who own common one word dictionary-term domain names.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Thanks for sharing Elliot. I have realized that there is actually an opportunity and benefit to investing in non .com whose .com is owned by a stable business and whose target industry for your new gtld is not in competition with the .com owner business. In essence if a stable business owns the .com of whatever gtld of the same word you have acquired this means that the buyers for you name are more keen to own your gtld version since they have zero chance of ever getting the coveted .com.

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