The management at US-based Sting Marketing Inc found they had disturbed a hornet's nest when they tried to use the brand of an industry veteran in a domain registration, according to the results of a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) investigation recently.
Case D2008-0869 records that the Isle of Man based online gambling software developer and turnkey provider Microgaming took exception to the registration of the domain casinos-microgaming.com, triggering an arbitration process to which the registrant failed to respond at any point, thus losing the case – and the domain.
In a finding dated July 22 WIPO arbitrator Alistair Payne ordered the transfer of the domain to Microgaming following a decision based on:
1. The Complainant had demonstrated that the Respondent is neither related to the Complainant nor authorised to use the Complainant’s trade marks in any way. As the Respondent’s registration occurred nearly ten years after the Complainant’s first use of the MICROGAMING trademark, the Panel considers that the registration of a domain name containing such a well-known trade mark in the area of online casinos and gaming related software combined with the descriptive and industry related word “casinos” is evidence of intended use in bad faith; and
2. The Respondent has failed to explain on two occasions the reasons why he registered the Disputed Domain Name. Firstly in failing to respond to the Complainant’s cease and desist letter and secondly by failing to file a Response in this administrative proceeding. In these circumstances, the Panel infers that the Respondent never intended any bona fide use for the Disputed Domain Name beyond the directory web site that is currently displayed.
For the reasons stated above, the Panel is satisfied that the Disputed Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith. As such, paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is satisfied.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <casinos-microgaming.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
The action indicates the increasing determination of well established and successful online gambling companies to defend the integrity of their brands.