This might be my favorite UDRP decision ever

Panelist David Sorkin didn’t need many words to express his dismay.

A confused man looking at papers with question marks all around his head

UDRP panelists sometimes feel the need to be verbose. So I love the decision David Sorkin wrote for NattyOutdoorstore .com.

Microtech Knives, Inc. filed the dispute against Wachira Chaina / Natty?s Store. The Respondent hosts a store selling outdoor goods, including knives and backpacks.

The Complainant, a knife company, argued that the domain was confusingly similar to its marks MICROTECH, ANTHONY L MARFIONE, and OUTBREAK.

It seems that its beef is that it alleges the site sells counterfeit Microtech knives.

The meat of the decision is so simple yet to the point. Under “Identical and/or Confusing Similar,” Sorkin wrote merely:

Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its registered marks ANTHONY L MARFIONE and OUTBREAK. It is not.

I mean, what more can you say?

Sorkin didn’t address the other two elements required to win a UDRP. He wrote a bit more under the Reverse Domain Name Hijacking heading. The domain owner didn’t respond, but Sorkin determined this case fit the bill for a bad faith filing:

Complainant’s assertion that the disputed domain name <> is confusingly similar to its ANTHONY L MARFIONE mark does not pass even a straight-face test, and its assertion that the domain name is confusingly similar to OUTBREAK is not much better. The Panel is mystified by Complainant’s assertion that “there can be no reasonable doubt that Respondent deliberately selected the Domain Name in order to pass off its website as Complainant’s website.” (Complaint, p. 8.)

Equally troubling are some of the other claims that appear in the Complaint, including Complainant’s unsupported counterfeit rhetoric. For example, in its argument relating to rights or legitimate interests, Complainant provides a screenshot taken from Respondent’s website, and alleges that “As shown above, Respondent uses Complainant’s registered trademark MICROTECH on its webpage and purports to offer counterfeit MICROTECH knives.” The screenshot shows three products advertised on Respondent’s website, one of which is captioned “OTF Micro Ultra tech Custom Variable.” (“OTF” apparently refers to an “out-the-front” or sliding pocketknife, as distinguished from one that folds or has a fixed blade.) To the Panel’s eye, and based on the materials provided by Complainant, this image does not appear to depict an item that is at all similar to any of Complainant’s products. Furthermore, it does not appear that Respondent’s website contains any references whatsoever to MICROTECH or MICRO TECH (aside from the single reference to “OTF Micro Ultra tech Custom Variable”), nor to ANTHONY L MARFIONE (or even just MARFIONE) or OUTBREAK. And there are no obvious similarities in appearance between the parties’ websites, other than the fact that both of them promote knives for sale.

Complainant also states that “Respondent’s name of record ‘Wachira Chaina / Natty?s Store’ does not resemble the Domain Name, which tends to indicate Respondent has not been commonly known by the Domain Name and thus does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.” The Panel does in fact see some resemblance between both Respondent’s name “Wachira Chaina / Natty?s Store” and the title of its website, “Natty’s Store,” on the one hand, and the disputed domain name <> on the other; and is baffled by Complainant’s professed inability to do so.

The Complaint includes these and other allegations that are unsupported by and in some instances contrary to the evidence, and in the Panel’s view Complainant knew or should have known that it did not have a colorable claim under the Policy. The Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.

Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP represented the Complainant.

Update: It turns out that the company also filed a UDRP against DiscountKnife .net. The panelist in that case used more words to explain a lack of confusing similarity.

Post link: This might be my favorite UDRP decision ever

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