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Recent National Arbitration Forum Domain Name Decisions Involve YouTube, Canadian Television and American Girl

The National Arbitration Forum issued decisions on the rights to YouTube.net, CTV.com, and AmericanGirl.net. Conflicts over domain names are on the rise. The dispute resolution provider handled 1,658 domain disputes in 2006, a 21 percent increase from the prior year, and 1,805 disputes in 2007.

The following decisions were made in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) by independent and neutral arbitrators on the National Arbitration Forum Panel.

YouTube.netComplainant Google Inc., owner of the popular video sharing site YouTube.com, filed a complaint on March 11, 2008 against YiWuShi Shuangfeng Jixie Youxian Gongsi of China, the registered owner of YouTube.net.

The National Arbitration Forum Panelist followed traditional UDRP principles in disregarding the functional ".net" generic top-level domain (gTLD) when determining the "YouTube" domain name was identical to Complainant's YOUTUBE trademark. The arbitrator also found that the website at the domain name advertises and displays adult-oriented content. The owner of YouTube.net registered and used the domain name in bad faith based on the fact that it was using Complainant's well-known mark to provide such content. For these reasons, the National Arbitration Forum granted transfer of YouTube.net to Google Inc. on May 5, 2008.

CTV.comComplainant CTV Inc., a Canadian English language television network, brought a complaint against CTV.com owner Murat Yikilmaz of Turkey, on April 11, 2008.

Complainant has used the CTV mark since 1961 to identify its goods and services, and registered the CTV mark in 1974 with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. A three member Panel found that the domain name was identical to the CTV trademark. The Panel determined that the three letters which constitute the essence of the disputed domain name are generic initials used by many parties to identify many goods and services. The Panel found Respondent to be in the domain name warehousing business, specializing in three character domains. Respondent's use of CTV.com to attract Internet traffic is a legitimate business interest, especially in this case where none of the advertisements are related to Complainant's television operations. Additionally the Panel found CTV Inc. had not proven the domain name was registered or used in bad faith. The majority of the Panel denied Complainant's requested relief on June 10, 2008. Panelist Kerans dissented in the decision, inferring that Respondent likely was aware of CTV Inc.'s business and mark in Canada and the U.S.

AmericanGirl.netAmerican Girl, LLC, a subsidiary of Mattel that manufactures dolls and books for young girls, submitted a complaint against The Tidewinds Group, Inc on February 25, 2008 seeking transfer of AmericanGirl.net.

The National Arbitration Forum arbitrator found that the domain name was identical to the AMERICAN GIRL trademark, which Complainant had submitted into the record. Further, Respondent used the site to display links to commercial websites, proving no legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. Finally, the Panelist looked at the registration and use of the disputed domain name. It was found that Respondent registered the domain name in 2002, three years before the application filing date for the AMERICAN GIRL mark that Complainant provided. While noting that Complainant provided no evidence that it possessed common law rights or any other trademarks previous to 2005, the National Arbitration Forum Panelist found no bad faith registration or use and denied transfer of AmericanGirl.net to American Girl, LLC on April 16, 2008.

Source: prweb.com

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