SecureLock.com UDRP: Finding of RDNH

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SecureLock.com was the subject of a UDRP proceeding at the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). The decision was published over the weekend, and the three member panel found in favor of the domain registrant. In addition, the panel ruled that the case was brought in bad faith and “that reverse domain name hijacking has occurred.” The domain registrant will be able to retain the SecureLock.com domain name.

In this particular proceeding, it looks like the fact that the domain name was parked with PPC advertising was helpful to the domain registrant. Here’s an excerpt from the section discussing rights or legitimate interests in the domain name:

“The Panel finds that merely registering a domain name comprised of common terms such as “secure” and “lock” does not by itself automatically confer rights or legitimate interests on Respondent. In order to find rights or legitimate interests in a domain name based on its dictionary meaning, the domain name should be genuinely used, or at least demonstrably intended for such use, in connection with the relied-upon dictionary meaning and not to trade off third-party trademark rights.

In this case, the disputed domain name redirects to PPC links. Respondent argues that these links are not selected but are the result of the generic or descriptive meaning of terms contain in a domain, as opposed to being selected with a trademark in mind. The PPC ads are auto generated by Google’s or parking provider software and relate to topics of general interests

The Panel finds that Respondent registered the disputed domain name based on its descriptive nature, and probably not because of Complainant’s trademark.”

Here’s an excerpt of the decision discussing whether or not the domain registrant acquired and used the domain name in bad faith:

“Complainant has shown that it has relevant rights on the SECURLOCK trademark which is registered in the US. However, the Respondent is based in Korea. The Panel notes that there is no evidence of the worldwide reputation of Complainant’s trademark.

Respondent argues that it did not know Complainant’s trademark. Respondent states that the combination of the descriptive “Secure” with the word “Lock” is a commonly used term worldwide. Therefore, by registering a domain name with the descriptive words “secure” and “lock”, Respondent thought that no party could claim exclusive rights on these descriptive words.

Respondent argues that there is no evidence of bad faith registration or use. To the contrary, Respondent argues that it has purchased many others domain names with descriptive terms that were available. Respondent registered the Disputed Domain simply because it incorporated a descriptive term that became available when its prior owner allowed the Disputed Domain’s registration to expire.

Panel notes that Respondent has probably registered the Disputed Domain name without Complainant’s trademark in mind.”

In the discussion about reverse domain name hijacking, the panel wrote the following:

“Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests and that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Panel thus concludes that reverse domain name hijacking has occurred.”

When I initially saw the UDRP filing, my thought was that the SecureLock.com seems like a very good generic domain name that is worth quite a bit of money. It looks like the panel made the right decision. Incidentally, this is the second UDRP with a Reverse Domain Name Hijacking finding in the last few days. On Friday, I wrote about the RDNH finding on the Dialoga.com UDRP.

Attorney Jason Schaeffer of ESQWire.com represented the domain registrant in this UDRP proceeding.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks to the panels. UDRP is to protect brands. But lately UDRP is more as a cheap way to get a valuable domains. Secure Lock is not exclusively representing owner’s trademark. The problem is the trademark using generic term. There are a lot of people have good intention in secure locks business : door locks, password security apps, security apps, etc. In every country, there are a lot of door lock brands. Having a trademark in generic term doesn’t mean the trademark owner has the right to prevent others to have secure lock businesses. It is only to protect the trademark owner’s brand. If someone ruins your trade name with selling other products those confusing customers as your products, you can use UDRP to protect your brand.

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