In what could be the strangest decision of the year, Google Inc. just lost a UDRP on the domain name woogle.com and the domain holder didn’t even respond.
The decision was handed down by the National Arbitration Forum
The one member panel found that Woogle.com was not confusingly similar to Google.com
“”” Typosquatting (without more) does not appear in the UDRP as a ground for transferring or cancelling a domain name. ”
“Even if typosquatting were in the UDRP, it is difficult to see how one could type WOOGLE when one meant to type GOOGLE.”
Here are the relevant facts and findings:
“In view of Respondent’s failure to submit a response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of Complainant’s undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules. ”
Complainant claims rights in the GOOGLE mark through its various trademark registrations around the world including with the following:
USPTO (e.g., Reg. No. 2,884,502 filed Sept. 16, 1998; registered Sept. 14, 2004); and
SAIC (e.g., Reg. No. 1,473,896 registered Nov. 14, 2000).
This Panel concurs and finds Complainant has adequately established its rights in the GOOGLE mark under Policy ¶4(a)(i) through its array of trademark registrations.
Complainant argues Respondent’s <woogle.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, merely replacing the letter “g” of the GOOGLE mark with the letter “w.” The Panel notes the disputed domain name also adds the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, as must every domain name. While changing a single letter is often not enough to differentiate a mark from a domain name, in this case the letter at issue is the first letter. ”
“This Panel does not believe Respondent’s disputed domain name can be confused with Complainant’s mark.”
“Therefore, the Panel declines to find Respondent’s <woogle.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s GOOGLE mark under Policy ¶4(a)(i).”
“The Panel finds Policy ¶4(a)(i) NOT satisfied.”
“Complainant contended under its “Respondent and the Domain Name” section, that Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website containing thumbnail-sized photographs, most of which are adult content or are sexually suggestive in nature in nature. ”
“However, Complainant does not present this argument under either Policy ¶4(a)(ii) or Policy ¶4(a)(iii). ”
“The pictures contained on the resolving website cover a wide range of topics (although a number are sexually suggestive in a “G rated” sort of way), and Complainant does not provide evidence of where the picture link upon being clicked. ”
“There is no obvious text indicting what the pictures represent. ”
“Respondent has provided no indication of what the web site is being used for. ”
“In the absence of better information and taking consideration of the fact the disputed domain name was registered on 2002, the Panel finds such use is evidence Respondent is not using the disputed domain name for a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶4(c)(iii). ”
“Complainant has not shown (or even claimed) Respondent is attempting to attract Internet users to capitalize on this confusion. This is not one of the ways to prove Respondent has no rights, but to prove bad faith. ”
“The Panel respectfully disagrees with Complainant about typosquatting.”
” Typosquatting (without more) does not appear in the UDRP as a ground for transferring or cancelling a domain name. Even if typosquatting were in the UDRP, it is difficult to see how one could type WOOGLE when one meant to type GOOGLE.”
“The Panel finds Policy ¶4(a)(ii) satisfied, although just barely. ”
“Having not established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be DENIED.”
“Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <woogle.com> domain name REMAIN WITH Respondent.”
Good news for my GOOWLE.COM domain, then.
Seriously though, does anyone actually manually type in, “Google.com,” or do the vast majority of people who use it every day simply click on a bookmark for it?