ABC Liquors, Inc. of Florida, just won a UDRP on the domain name abcliquor.com.
Its an interesting case, although living in Florida I know ABC Liquor to be the largest chain of Liquor stores in the state, however also having a house in North Carolina I know all the liquor stores in many states are run by the state, rather than privately and referred to as ABC stores (Alcohol and Beverage Commission)
Complainant is the owner of the active United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) registration for the ABC LIQUOR & Design mark (Reg. No. 1,698,144 registered Jun. 30, 1992) for retail liquor store and cocktail lounge services.
Respondent registered the abcliquor.com domain name on June 2, 1999, and uses it to resolve to a website displaying links and advertisements for flooring-related goods and services.
Complainant argues that Respondent is in the business of offering retail flooring-related goods and services, and does not use the ABC LIQUOR mark in connection with its business.
The WHOIS record for the abcliquor.com domain name lists “NA Rugking.com” as the domain name registrant.
“Complainant next alleges that Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, as it resolves to a website displaying links and advertisements for flooring-related goods and services.
Panels have previously found that the display of links to unrelated goods and services is not a use protected under Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) and 4(c)(iii).
Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the abcliquor.com domain name is not a Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) bona fide offering of goods or services or a Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii) legitimate noncommercial or fair use.
Complainant provides evidence to the Panel that, prior to the initiation of this dispute, the abcliquor.com domain name resolved to a website displaying links to competing services, under headings such as “Wines,” “Liquor,” and “Whiskey.”
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent registered and used the abcliquor.com domain name to advertise products and services that compete with those offered by Complainant, directing customers away from Complainant’s website to Respondent’s own website.
The Panel finds that Respondent’s previous use of the abcliquor.com domain name, to display advertisements to competing alcoholic beverage sales, constitutes bad faith in accordance with Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
Respondent’s current use of the abcliquor.com domain name to display links to flooring-related services also attempts to take advantage of Complainant’s mark, for Respondent’s profit.
Complainant also alleges that Respondent was or should have been aware of Complainant and its registered trademark at the time Respondent registered the abcliquor.com domain name because Complainant has been using the mark in connection with its business for over 50 years. The Panel agrees and finds that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
The domain owner didn’t respond to the complaint, however the panel did not even address the issue that many states use the same term to refer to their brick and mortar stores as ABC stores.
The panelist should have at least addressed the issue.
Danny Pryor says
The domain owner should have responded and claimed ABC forfeited rights, interposing laches to block this UDRP. That does have some precedent these days. I know stare decisis does not exist, but many panelists are starting to review previous rulings to guide their decisions.
This is a bad decision, based on laches, in my not-so-humble opinion.