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No Double Jeopardy for Domain Name Dispute

Complainant, Ashley Judd, is a famous actor who has appeared in multiple television series and films.  The Respondent, Jeff Burgar, carries on activities under the name "Alberta Hot Rods" and various other names.  He registered the disputed domain name, "ashleyjudd.com", in 1996 and has a history of registering domain names consisting of the name of a famous actor, celebrity or company followed by the generic ".com" top level domain suffix. 

Complainant alleged to have taken immediate steps to have the domain transferred to her on becoming aware of Respondent's registration of it in March 2009, by sending a cease and desist letter that was ignored.  In seeking transfer, Complainant alleged that she had common law rights in the mark ASHLEY JUDD, that Respondents have no legitimate right or interest in the domain, which it registered and is using in bad faith.  Complainant also raised that laches is not a defense under the UDRP and that, in any case, it could not be invoked by Respondents since they had suffered no prejudice and had not themselves behaved equitably.

The Panel agreed that Complainant had satisfied the requirements of the Policy and ordered transfer of the domain.  In so holding, the Panel further noted that where, as here, the requirements of the UDRP have been satisfied, there is no separate defense of laches.  The Panel further held that, notwithstanding, any such defense would fail in this case based on the facts, since there was no evidence of detrimental reliance on Respondents' part and they had not acted equitably.  Ashley Judd v. Alberta Hot Rods, Jeff Burgar, WIPO Case No. D2009-1099

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