In a 3 person panel decision, a WIPO panel denied the complaint of Parkroyal Hospitality Management Pte Ltd. of Singapore, over the domain ParkRoyal.com.
What makes this case noteworthy is that the Complainant, owed the trademark “PARKROYAL” since 2002 and has “47 trademark registrations for PARKROYAL in 15 different countries around the world.”
The Complaint operates hotels by under this trademark.
“”””The Complainant has evidenced that the disputed domain name contained links to hotels and resorts, including those of competitors of the Complainant. Additionally, the Complainant further argues that the content of the Respondent’s website has nothing to do with Park Royal in London and any such claim to this type of use is merely an afterthought.
“”””The Complainant contends that as the links are based on the trademark value of a particular trademark and the Respondent had no prior association to that mark, the use would be considered as cybersquatting. The Complainant further notes that since the Respondent had used the Complainant’s PARKROYAL mark to attract Internet users and to divert them to the Complainant’s competitors, such a use would not be legitimate. The Complainant also argues that if the Respondent had conducted a meaningful search, that such a search would have revealed information pertaining to the Complainant. In that respect, the Respondent cannot rely on such ignorance to protect it from a finding of bad faith.”””
However the Panel unanimously found that the complain should be denied saying:
“”””The Panel does not agree with the Respondent’s contention that direct evidence that the Respondent was trying to profit from the value of the Complainant’s trademark is required; rather, in instances such as this, the Panel is able to look at the various facts and circumstances of the case and make a determination based on how they view the evidence as to whether bad faith registration and use occurred.”””
“””The Panel does not find that the PARKROYAL trademark was so widely known that the Respondent must have been familiar with it. Additionally, there is no specific evidence of record or in the content of the site at the disputed domain name that would unequivocally lead the Panel to infer that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s existence or the PARKROYAL trademark.”””
“””The majority of the current content on the site at the disputed domain name relates to camping and park activities, primarily confined to the United States. The Respondent has registered a large number of other domain names relating to “parks” as a generic and common term. Furthermore, the Respondent asserts that it has registered a number of other domain names based on geographic terms. Upon reviewing the names of these other registrations, there is no evidence that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of conduct or any other activity in which the objective was to benefit from the Complainant’s trademark. The wide nature of those other registrations seems to suggest that the Respondent has sought to benefit from the registration of a wide range of geographical and other generic terms without any clear evidence indicating that the Respondent had targeted the trademarks of others in this effort. In other words, there is no proof here of a pattern of cybersquatting conduct.”””
“””Based on the preponderance of the evidence, the Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant has failed to present sufficient evidence to lead the Panel to the conclusion that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.”””
An absolutely great win for domainers.
Vertical Axis was represented by Ari Goldberger, Esq.