Domain Name Dispute Reactor

Complainant is an individual who operates a number of sites, including "torrentreactor.net", which provides software and services designed to help users locate and download "torrent files" (files based on a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol initially developed by BitTorrent).  However, most, if not all, of the files promoted by Complainant or available for download were unlawful copies of software, movies, music, etc. -- in other words, works subject to copyright protection.

Respondent is an individual with a history of cybersquatting.  While the registration of the disputed domain name, "torrentreactor.com", predates the registration date of Complainant's domain name, Respondent did not obtain the registration until several years later after winning an auction process for the disputed domain name for the purported sum of $17,500.  Respondent used the domain to link to a parking service (through which he received revenue) and eventually forwards to a site that provides pornographic material.

Prior to the filing of the Complaint, Complainant and Respondent engaged in a series of negotiations.  Respondent offered to sell the domain to Complainant for a mere $150,000; Complainant countered with $30,000 and Respondent made a final offer of $50,000. Complainant then filed its Complaint, which made it pretty clear that Respondent's offer was rejected.

At the end of the day, the Complaint was denied.  Complainant asserted trademark rights in TORRENTREACTOR based solely upon its use of the domain name "torrentreactor.net" and various logos he created and used via the site.  However, mere use of a domain name, even if assumed for a long period of time and with many visitors, does not necessarily give rise to a trademark right.  While Complainant's failure to establish trademark rights was in and of itself sufficient to deny the Complaint, the Panel made note of a few other significant points, including a lack of merit to Respondent's argument that he has a right or legitimate interest in the domain because he paid $17,500 for it in auction.  The Panel deemed that fact irrelevant since domain names are often traded and auctioned off for profit and, it is often the case that domain names that are confusingly similar to an existing trademark fetch a higher price among cybersquatters.  In denying the Complaint, the Panel also noted the Respondent's prior history of cybersquatting and more than sufficient evidence to reach a finding of bad faith use by Respondent.

Notwithstanding the Panel's decision to deny the Complaint, it is significant to note that the Panel expressly noted that, in light of its finding of bad faith by Respondent, if Complainant was subsequently able to show that it had obtained the requisite trademark rights in the TORRENTREACTOR mark, it would not entirely rule out the possibility of the Complainant re-filing against Respondent (provided that the UDRP's relevant re-filing criteria were met).  In any event, the Panel's denial of the Complaint would not prevent either party from pursuing the matter further in a court of competent jurisdiction.  Alexey Kistenev v. Jinsu Kim, WIPO Case No. D2008-1870

My Name, Your Domain Name

Complainant, Peter Bober, is an attorney and mayor of the city of Hollywood, Florida. He is the youngest mayor ever elected to this position and the first of Cuban ancestry.  Mr. Bober and his wife have a law practice, Bober & Bober, P.A., located in Hollywood, Florida, where they specialize in employment law.  He has published legal articles in various law journals and is active in the Hollywood, Florida community. 

Despite this, the Panel denied Mr. Bober's Complaint which sought transfer of the disputed domain name, "peterbober.com".  The disputed domain was not being actively used by Respondent. However, in denying the Complaint, the Panel determined that Mr. Bober had failed to show that his name, Peter Bober, had achieved common law trademark rights as it was not identified with a particular business.  As a general matter, personal names are not protected under the Policy, including the personal names of business men and politicians, unless the business person has established that his name is synonymous with a particular business and that good will exists not only in the name of the business but in the name of the individual with which it is identified, or where a politician has derived commercial success from the use of his name, such as through the authorship of commercially successful books.  In this case, Mr. Bober's law practice was called "Bober & Bober P.A.".  The Panel commented that if he had perhaps been offering legal services under the name "Law Offices of Peter Bober", the result of this case may have been different.  Although Mr. Bober has been published, his authored articles were of a scholarly nature, not commercially successful books. Under all of these circumstances, common law trademark rights in a personal name were not established by Complainant. Peter Bober v. National Institute for Mortgage Education, WIPO Case No. D2008-1668