Monday, April 28, 2008

Inevrsion of letters in domain name is bad faith

In Georgia Power Company, the Southern Company v. Wang Congming, WIPO Case No. D2008-0234 (David Taylor, April 16, 2008), the Panel required the transfer of gerogiapower.com to the Complainant. Aside from the addition of the top level domain (.com) and the inversion of the "o" and "r" in "Georgia," the domain name was identical to the Complainant's registered GEORGIA POWER trademark.

The case is a classic example of typosquatting, where domain profiteers seek to capture on typing mistakes made by Internet surfers seeking a particular website. In this case, the Panel found that "[t]he misspelling of the GEORGIA POWER mark in the domain name is with intent to intercept and siphon off traffic from its intended destination and direct them to the Respondent’s website." This conclusion was easy for the Panel, as "[t]he website under the disputed domain name contains links to 'Georgia Power', 'Georgia Power New Service', 'Online Payments' and 'Pay Georgia Power Bill On Line'." Those links did not lead to the Complainant's website, but rather to other websites with additional lists of links. Given the Respondent's use of a domain name nearly identical to the Complainant's trademark, coupled with the use of the Complainant's trademark in connection with links to third party websites, the Panel had no difficulty finding bad faith on the part of the Respondent.

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