Tough Loss on Arm.CO UDRP

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Global computer chip maker ARM filed a UDRP against the ARM.CO domain name. The company operates its business on the ARM.com domain name. I presume ARM wanted to control the .CO domain name in the event of typos and/or to prevent someone else from owning it. The UDRP decision was published today, and the single panelist ruled in favor of the chip manufacturer.

The respondent did not have an attorney represent him in the UDRP. Although an attorney may have been helpful in responding to a UDRP, I do not think it would have been a good use of money. Legal fees could have cost several thousand dollars, and if an attorney suggested paying for a 3-person UDRP panel, it would have been even more expensive. Spending thousands of dollars to defend a .CO domain name like this probably would have been unwise, particularly since the most likely buyer is the company that filed the UDRP in the first place.

I do not really think this was a great decision, although I am having a tough time pinning the blame entirely on the panelist. The Arm term completely matches the complainant’s ARM branding. However, Arm is a generic word and there are also many companies that have ARM or Arm in their branding. There are many others that have ARM for an acronym.

In my opinion, there should be no issue with owning a domain name that consists of a word found in the dictionary. The big issue that I can see with this domain name is the reported PPC links that were on the landing page. From the decision:

“Furthermore, the Domain Name was used to host PPC parking pages, with links to third-party websites, including a link, which directly competes with Complainants’ business. The Panel finds that is not unlikely that Respondent received PPC fees from the linked websites that were listed at the Domain Name’s websites and used the Domain Name for his own commercial gain. The use of a domain name to host a parked page comprising PPC links does not represent a bona fide offering where such links compete with Complainants’ trademark (Archer-Daniels-Midland Company v. Wang De Bing, WIPO Case No. D2017-0363; Virgin Enterprises Limited v. LINYANXIAO aka lin yanxiao, WIPO Case No. D2016-2302; and Donald J. Trump v. Mediaking LLC d/b/a Mediaking Corporation and Aaftek Domain Corp., WIPO Case No. D2010-1404. See also WIPO Overview 3.0 , section 2.9 ).”

I would imagine the decision would likely have been different had the PPC links been about arm surgery or arm strength. It may have been even more challenging for the complainant to win if there were no PPC links at all, although that could have backfired if the complainant convinced the panelist that the only reason for owning the domain name was to sell it to the complainant rather than a bona fide domain name monetization business.

In any case, this decision should serve as a reminder to people who have descriptive domain names that PPC links should be monitored to ensure they do not compete with a trademark or brand owner. PPC companies want to maximize revenue and do not protect the registrant against TM infringement.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This decision should not have been awarded in the complainant’s favor. Arm is an extremely widely used acronym in business and by organizations with a number of varied uses. Big companies do not own universal rights to generic terms.

    Further, the actual financial harm of a minor ppc link to a large company is minimal. PPC revenue is peanuts. If the ppc link was the issue, the complainant could have asked the registrant to remove it rather than seeking to wrest control of the domain from them. Some UDRP panelists use insignificant ppc links as the primary basis for handing a valuable asset to the complainant. It is simply not enough to accept ppc as a rationale for an extremely anti-registrant decision such as this.

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