CoorsTek, Inc. which owns the domain name FlowGuard.com lost its bid to grab the domain name flow-guard.com with the majority of the panel finding that the trademark holder waited to long and was barred by the doctrine of latches from making the complaint.
FlowGuard.com was registered on March 24, 1998.
Flow-Guard.com was registered on August 15th, 1996
The domain holder was represented by Ari Goldberger of ESQwire.com.
Complainant is the owner of trademark registrations for FLOWGUARD and FLOWGUARD USA,
The majority of the panel found that the complaintant failed on the doctrine of latches:
“The Panel notes that the parties do not dispute that Respondent registered the disputed domain name on August 15, 1996, 17 years prior to this proceeding and 3 years prior to the inception of the UDRP.
“Further, Respondent has provided the Panel evidence of its use of the mark FLOWGUARD in connection with its business since that date.
“Accordingly, a majority of the Panel finds that the presumption in favor of Complainant upon satisfaction of the first element of the Policy has been successfully rebutted by Respondent’s showing of legitimate use of the domain name at issue for more than a decade and by the fact of laches on the part of Complainant.
“It appears to the Panel that any business disruption or confusion suffered by Complainant as a result of Respondent’s domain name registration was either non-existent or de minimis, else Complainant would have taken action in a more timely fashion.
“Accordingly, a majority of the Panel finds that Complainant has failed to satisfy the second element of the Policy and the Complaint must be dismissed.
“The Panel has considered the long time between the original registration of the disputed domain name and the institution of this proceeding and the fact that the disputed domain name was established before the entering into force of the ICANN UDRP Policy as giving rise to laches”
“Therefore there is no reason for the panel to investigate the last element of Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.”