We basically know that everything is trademarked at this point
Of course there are those who are just straight out cybersquatter, make a living off of typo domains like wallmart.com or Verision.com but all domainers at some point might trip over a domain they didn’t know was trademarked or just made a good guess of a forthcoming product.
Consider the case of Marriott International, Inc who just won control of the domain name GaylordRockies.com in a UDRP after offering the domain holder $1,000, which is not a horrible return on a hand registered domain.
When you read the opinion its clear the domain holder should have taken the $1k and ran.
Sometimes like Kenny said, you have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.
Here are the highlights
“Marriott, one of the world’s largest and most famous hotel chains, acquired the hotel business of Gaylord Entertainment Company in 2012, which company had established five hotels under the GAYLORD family of trademarks including GAYLORD HOTELS. Other marks include GAYLORD NATIONAL (Washington, D.C. hotel), GAYLORD OPRYLAND (Nashville, Tennessee), GAYLORD PALMS (near Orlando, Florida), and GAYLORD TEXAN (near Dallas, Texas).
The GAYLORD HOTELS mark was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in 1996.
In June 2011, Gaylord Entertainment announced that it would be building a hotel and entertainment complex in Aurora, Colorado, near Denver. The hotel complex was to be called “Gaylord Rockies.”
This announcement received considerable media attention, including in the Denver Post. (Respondent resides in Denver.)
In July 2011, Complainant filed a trademark application with the USPTO for the GAYLORD ROCKIES mark.
Respondent Paul Trujillo registered the Domain Name on December 30, 2011. The Domain Name resolves to a parking page that states: “My Site. This is my site description.”
Respondent claims that he registered the Domain Name in late 2011 “to launch a NEW Travel Blog and Fan Page under my Author name Paul John for the Colorado Travel and Tourism Industry.” He asserts that “Colorado Airport Transportation LLC is actively developing GAYLORDROCKIES.COM with a launch or going live date of January 1, 2017.” He states that this blog/fan page “has a monthly expense budget and start up cap,” and that the “Business Plan was constructed in the first quarter of business 2012.”
On September 9, 2014, Lisa Fox (an employee of Complainant) sent Respondent Trujillo an email asking whether he was interested in selling the Domain Name. Ms. Fox did not disclose that she worked for Complainant. The next day, September 10, 2014, Respondent sent an email to Ms. Fox stating: “Yes I am interested in selling the domain Gaylordrockies.com. At this time I am open to all reasonable offers and all offers will be considered.” Later that day, Ms. Fox offered $150.
On October 6, 2014, Respondent sent Ms. Fox an email stating that “we have an interest in selling Gaylordrockies.com domain and are open to accepting offers at the present time.” Respondent added: “Please understand we will not give out any information until we find out more from the buyer and their true interest in purchasing the domain.”
On November 10, 2014, Ms. Fox offered $1,000 and asked Respondent to respond as soon as possible.
The domain holder rejected the offer and this UDRP was filed
The Panel doubts Respondent’s account here. First, there is no evidence that the purported “business plan” was generated before or even around the time Respondent registered the Domain Name. Nor is there any contemporaneous evidence tending to show that Respondent was actually paying vendors, lining up business partners, and the like in connection with his purported venture.
More importantly, during the 2014 email exchanges with Lisa Fox, Respondent never even hinted that he had actual plans to use the Domain Name in any manner, much less the manner he now claims.
Rather, within one day of Ms. Fox’s initial solicitation, Respondent said in no uncertain terms that he was willing to sell the Domain Name and that “all offers will be considered.” Even when he rebuffed Ms. Fox’s initial $150 offer, Respondent stated that he would keep the Domain Name in his “portfolio” for the time being.
The Panel draws an adverse inference from Respondent’s failure to mention that he had actual plans to use the Domain Name in connection with some type of business or venture.
On this record, the Panel does not find it plausible that Respondent would fail to mention his intentions, even in the broadest sense and without need to divulge details, if such intentions actually existed at the time.
In short, on this record, the Panel concludes that it is more likely than not that Respondent’s alleged plans were pretextual rather than genuine.
The Panel therefore concludes that Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The Panel concludes that Respondent more likely than not was aware of the plans by Complainant’s predecessor to build a large hotel and entertainment complex in the Denver area, to be called “Gaylord Rockies,” at the time he registered the Domain Name.
Respondent resides in Denver and is connected with the travel industry (including airport transportation). Moreover, the plan to develop the Gaylord Rockies resort was rather widely publicized in the Denver media, which reinforces the Panel’s conclusion that the registration of the Domain Name by Respondent within six months of the first announcement is not to be put down to coincidence.
The Panel also finds, on this record, it more likely than not that Respondent’s primary intent in registering the Domain Name was to sell it at a profit.
First, as discussed in the previous section, the Panel does not believe Respondent’s explanation of his motives and finds his “business plan” pretextual.
Second, it is true (and it does not reflect well on Complainant) that the initial discussion of a sale occurred nearly three years after the registration of the Domain Name, but once Ms. Fox initiated the discussion in September 2014, Respondent was all ears. Without hesitation, Respondent expressed his willingness to part with the Domain Name and said that all offers would be considered. When he received a $150 offer, Respondent stated that the offer was “vastly different” from his own valuation of the Domain Name. This obviously suggests that Respondent sought considerably more than $150 for the Domain Name.
On the record presented, the Panel concludes it more likely than not that Respondent registered the Domain Name with knowledge of the GAYLORD family of marks and of the plans to develop the Gaylord Rockies resort, and then waited for someone to come calling about the Domain Name, at which time a profit could be realized from its sale. Such conduct violates paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.”