SteveJobs.com: UDRP Won by Steve Jobs Archive

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A UDRP was filed against the SteveJobs.com domain name at the NAF. The complainant in this UDRP is Steve Jobs Archive, LLC, which is described in the complaint as “the lawful owner of the Steve Jobs publicity rights and the trademark rights in the STEVE JOBS name.” The UDRP decision was published yesterday evening, and the complainant won the proceeding and will get the SteveJobs.com domain name unless a lawsuit is filed to overturn the decision.

The domain registrant, who has reportedly held the domain name for 20 years, was using the domain name as a forwarder to a Facebook page, according to Archive.org. In addition, the domain registrant contended that the domain name was neither bought to resell, nor was it used to make money. From the decision:

“As well, it is not such that there have been any monetary gains or exchanges through the use of Facebook pages, and it contains only the contents that should not otherwise be excluded therefrom.”

“It is clear that the disputed domain name had never been registered or obtained for the purposes of selling, leasing, or assigning it to somebody else.”

I believe domain registrants have successfully argued in the past that they could own a domain name that matches the name of a famous person if they did not monetize the name or attempt to sell the domain name. Obviously other factors go into a UDRP decision, but I have been under the impression that a domain name could be used by a third party if it wasn’t making money nor was it bought to re-sell.

The domain registrant’s argument was that he had a right to the domain name because his nickname is Steve Jobs Kim. Here’s what the registrant claimed:

“ii) The use of “STEVE JOBS” included in “STEVE JOBS KIM” as the English name of Respondent “Steve Jobs Kim” on domain names is lawful and legitimate. Respondent has been using “Steve Jobs Kim” as a name since 1999 for a period of over 20 years. Respondent has been operating the so-called “job stock” site of “Steve Jobs Kim” as the official web site. There exist various persons with the same names such as “Steven Paul Jobs”, “Steven Jobs”, and “Steve Jobs” in the U.S. Not one particular citizen or individual can have such names exclusively, and it shows that such names are not of reputation or fame.”

Unfortunately for the registrant, this did not fly with the panelist, and it was ruled that the registrant did not have rights to the domain name. Here’s what the panelist ruled:

“Respondent rebuts that the use of “STEVE JOBS” included in “STEVE JOBS KIM” as the English name of Respondent “Steve Jobs Kim” on domain name is lawful and legitimate. Respondent has been using “Steve Jobs Kim” as a name since 1999 for a period of over 20 years. Respondent has been operating the so-called “job stock” site of “Steve Jobs Kim” as the official web site. There exist various persons with the same names such as “Steven Paul Jobs”, “Steven Jobs”, and “Steve Jobs” in the U.S. Not one particular citizen or individual can have such names exclusively, and it shows that such names are not of reputation or fame.

The Panel cannot find any evidence that Respondent began to use the name ‘Steve Jobs’ as his nick name prior to December 21, 1999, the date of registration for the disputed domain name. According to Respondent’s assertions, since December 19, 2011, Respondent has been operating the so-called “job stock” site of “Steve Jobs Kim” as the official web site.

As the Panel finds that Respondent has failed to rebut the prima facie case against it, it concludes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”

I could not find any other domain names registered to Steve Jobs Archive, LLC using DomainIQ, so it remains to be seen how SteveJobs.com will be used, assuming the registrant does not attempt to stop the transfer via litigation.

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