U.K. Insurer Loses .XXX UDRP Arbitration Case

PRAGUE — There have been more than 20 UDRP cases filed against .XXX website operators since the top-level domain's launch, and for the first time a complainant has lost its cybersquatting case in mediation.

On Tuesday, a Czech arbitration court rejected U.K. insurance company BGL Group Ltd.'s dispute over CompareTheMarket.xxx, which is inactive.

BGL Group argued in its UDRP case that the .XXX  site at issue infringes on its online properties — CompareTheMarket.com and CompareTheMarket.co.uk., as well as CompareTheMeerkat.com, a marketing site that introduces an "anthropomorphized" cartoon meerkat character.

The insurance company, which said that the sites have been online and functioning for as many as seven years, said that the .XXX domain name was registered in bad faith because the U.K. registrant, Jon Watkins, seeks only to take unfair advantage of its brand.

"No legitimate interest is being pursued through the domain," the insurance company wrote in its Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy, or UDRP, petition."The sole motivation is to benefit from BGL's established brand."

But arbitrator Mike Rodenbaugh rejected BGL's complaint, ruling that CompareTheMarket.xxx's operator didn't register the domain in bad faith.

"Complainant states that the domain is 'completely inactive,' he ruled. "Complainant does not show that respondent tried to sell the domain to complainant, has registered other infringing names, or otherwise has tried to profit from the domain or cause any other harm to complainant.

"Respondent is not shown to have had prior UDRP cases in which he has been an unsuccessful defendant. Clearly, 'compare the market' could relate to myriad different types of markets and myriad different comparisons within each one, as demonstrated by a simple web search.

"Trademark rights are defined in scope, and do not give rise to transfer of generic or descriptive domains via the UDRP unless bad faith use of the domain is proved. Inactive non-use is clearly an insufficient indicator of bad faith; there must be something more."  

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