The UDRP rulings get nutter and more inconsistent by the day and today a one member panel denied PNC Financial Services Group, Inc which owns and operates PNC Bank on 9 domains all containing the term PTCbank even though the domains were parked and the domain owner used a logo on the parked domains that a copy of Complainant’s “PowerLink” logo and has the same colors as those used in Complainant’s design.
The panel found “PNC is the dominant component of the trademark”
“PTC is the dominant component of the disputed domain names, and the Panel does not consider them to be sufficiently similar”…Panel therefore considers it unlikely that the disputed domain names would be confused with Complainant’s PNC mark”
Here are the domains at issue:
Here are the relevant facts and findings by the one member panel:
“The disputed domain names were registered or acquired by Respondent in 2012 and 2013.”
“Complainant asserts that Respondent is using the domain names for a commercial website that offers a fraudulent pay-per-click advertising service under the name “PTC Bank,” using a copy of Complainant’s “PowerLink” logo and the same colors as those used in Complainant’s design mark.”
“Respondent has submitted e-mail correspondence apparently addressed to Complainant in lieu of a formal response. In relevant part, Respondent denies that the domain names are related to Complainant or its marks. Respondent claims to have found Complainant’s logo via a Google image search and used it without realizing that it belonged to a real company, and subsequently deleted the logo upon receiving an objection from Complainant.”
The Panel finds that the disputed domain names are not identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.
A domain name that contains a misspelled version of a trademark—a practice commonly referred to as “typosquatting”—is normally deemed to be confusingly similar to the mark for purposes of the Policy.
When a mark exists within a crowded field, a higher degree of similarity may be required for a domain name to be deemed confusingly similar to the mark.
“The Panel is extremely reluctant to find confusing similarity between a trademark consisting of a three-letter acronym and a domain name that has only two of those letters in common with the mark, especially where the domain name is not simply an obvious misspelling of the trademark. ”
“The letters PTC in the disputed domain names here presumably refer to Respondent’s “paid-to-click” business model, but could also refer to any number of other terms or entities. ”
“Wikipedia contains a description of the “paid-to-click” business model on a page that apparently dates back to 2007, long before Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain names. “See Paid to Click, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paid_To_Click.
“Presumably there are many other things that PTC may refer to.”
“In addition, Complainant’s mark and the PTC variation exist within an extremely crowded trademark field: there are numerous U.S. trademark registrations for PTC, as well as for PAC, PBC, PCC, PDC, PEF, and for nearly every other three-letter combination beginning with P and concluding with C.
The Panel therefore considers it unlikely that the disputed domain names would be confused with Complainant’s PNC mark.
“Complainant has a stronger case for confusing similarity between the disputed domain names and its PNCBANK mark.
Nonetheless, PNC is the dominant component of that mark, while PTC is the dominant component of the disputed domain names, and the Panel does not consider them to be sufficiently similar”
Respondent’s use of Complainant’s logo on his website does not alter this conclusion, as the content of the website has no bearing on whether the domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s marks.””