UDRP for Cousteau.com After Selling for $2,600 on NameJet (Update)

7

A UDRP was filed for the Cousteau.com domain name at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The UDRP is WIPO Case D2017-0685. I think this case will be an interesting one to follow, especially for people who participate in expired domain name auctions.

Cousteau.com has a creation date of April 12, 1995, making the domain name more than 20 years old. The domain name is currently registered to an individual, and when I visited Cousteau.com today, the domain name did not resolve. Most interestingly to me, this domain name was just won on NameJet at the end of January for $2,600, according to NameBio.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 12.37.20 PM

The complainant in this UDRP is Cousteau Society, Inc., an organization founded in 1973 by Captain Jacques Cousteau. When I first saw the domain name, my immediate thought was of the marine explorer Jacques Cousteau. The organization uses Cousteau.org for its website.

Prior to the auction on NameJet, it appears the Cousteau Society owned the Cousteau.com domain name. The earliest historical Whois record I can see is from 2001, and the organization owned the domain name at that point. A Historical Whois record from DomainTools shows that the domain name likely expired in mid-December. When it was not renewed by the domain registrant, it went to auction.

It appears that there quite a few people who have the first and last name of Cousteau.  This will likely make the UDRP decision interesting. It is the domain registrant’s responsibility to renew their domain names. As someone who regularly bids on expired domain name auctions, I will be following this closely.

Update: According to UDRPSearch.com, the complainant won the UDRP and the domain name will be transferred (assuming no further legal intervention).

7 COMMENTS

  1. I grew up with Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s expeditions, I remember watching his adventures with Calypso on TV, as early as in 1974!

    Without a doubt, it’s a strong mark, and a domain that was in the hands of the Complainant as late as in December. The current registrant’s info looks bogus, or mixed; info is in Malaysia but the name and address is that of a French photographer.

  2. Easy win for the Complainant. Top PPC links are “Jacques Cousteau” and “adventure travel”. Whether or not it is a general family name is irrelevant to how the name is being used. As Acro notes, there is substantial goodwill in this name connected with the Cousteau society and Jacques Cousteau, who is easily on my list of the top 20 remarkable people who ever lived.

    • It was not resolving for me when I wrote the article, but I see what you’re saying now. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, but it looks like that is a default Network Solutions landing page and the owner likely isn’t benefitting.

  3. We should just do UDRP’s by domain blog juries. Not only would we get most of them right, but it would be cheaper.

    Call it Stupid People’s Court or something.

    • Great idea, John. As long as you post first. 🙂

      In the decision, this part is interesting:

      “The Complainant also argues that the Respondent has tarnished the Complainant’s trademark COUSTEAU by using it to resolve to a website that links to unsavoury and salacious material.”

Leave a Reply