Lewis & Lin Wins Shocking Domain Name Dispute

Last week, a unanimous three-member panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held in a domain name dispute that the owner of Shocking.com had legitimate rights to the domain name <Shocking.com>, based on its long-term use in connection with an ISP. Interbasic Holding, S.A. v. Shocking, No. D2012-0654 (June 7, 2012).  The dispute involved the acquisition of the domain name as a part of a going concern business.  The Respondent operates a network of ISPs, whereas the Complainant owns trademarks for fragrances.  In denying the Complaint, the Panel held that: “[t]he Panel is not convinced that the Respondent acquired the Disputed Domain name with the intent to profit from the Complainant’s trade mark.  The Respondent’s business is so distinct from the business of the Complainant that Internet users or customers are unlikely to be confused as to whether the Respondent may be associated, affiliated or sponsored by the Complainant, which precludes the presumption that the Respondent acquired the Disputed Domain Name, expecting to profit from this confusion.”  

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