Cleveland Browns Win UDRP for Browns.com | DomainInvesting.com
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Cleveland Browns Win UDRP for Browns.com

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In March, I reported that the Cleveland Browns had filed a UDRP for Browns.com, and the UDRP decision was released today. The single panelist, Dr. Clive N.A. Trotman, found in favor of the Cleveland Browns, and the domain name will be transferred to the football team ownership, barring any litigation.

The respondent, a resident of Italy, did not provide a response to the UDRP. This seems to have played a role in the decision as the panelist stated, “The Respondent has not offered any such refutation, or replied at all, and the Panel is not aware from the evidence of any means by which the Respondent could succeed under the provisions of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or otherwise, to establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

In my opinion, if the respondent doesn’t give a good reason for why he has a right to the domain name, I don’t think it should be expected for the panelist to find a reason on his own, especially in light of other information provided in the UDRP proceeding.

One piece of evidence that seriously doomed the respondent’s chances was the usage of the Wayback Machine, found at Archive.org. According to the decision, “In 2005, specific references and links appeared, to among other things, “Cleveland Browns”, “Cleveland Browns Tickets” and “National Football League”. By 2006, there were additional references to associated merchandise and to other football clubs, with similar content through 2009. The Complainant has produced evidence of content strongly impinging on its trademark and activities until January 4, 2011, interspersed with some periods of inactivity.

It should be noted that there is a way for domain owners to get archived information removed from Archive.org, but that’s a topic for another post. This is important in the event a domain owner purchases a name from someone who may have previously infringed on the rights of another company.

One interesting facet of the decision was that there was a name change in the Whois between the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011. While some panelists may have used this information to say that it was a new registration and not consider the real registration date, which is bad for domain owners, this panelist provided some rationale for a possible Whois registrant contact change:

One possible interpretation of the facts of the present case is that the disputed domain name may have remained within the same entity, under the same guiding mind, before and after the registrant, administrative, technical and billing contacts were changed from “Gioacchino Zerbo” to “Andrea Denise Dinoia” on or before January 12, 2011; and therefore a new registration did not occur with that event.”

In my interpretation of the decision, the fact that there were football related links, specifically related to the complainant’s Cleveland Browns, coupled with the fact that the respondent didn’t respond to the UDRP, the panelist didn’t have much of a choice.

We’ll see if litigation is filed prior to the change of registrant, but it appears the Cleveland Browns will be able to move from ClevelandBrowns.com to Browns.com.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (8)

    Ron

    This really sucks, this poor guy could be in a coma in some hospital, for all we know, default judgements like this simply look to please corporate suitors. Even if it was parked, using a parking pages search function you can locate content to infringe on anything, this is really a to bad story… oh well, wonder what they could have done if he had responded… Browns is so generic, even a last name.

    May 10th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Alan

    Just goes to show you that in some instances, parking
    does not pay!

    May 10th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Ken

    I initially thought the article was referring to Cleveland Brown – the cartoon character from Family Guy… and that he won a UDRP case. LOL

    May 10th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Elliot Silver

      My biggest question is what the heck took so long.

      May 10th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    MarsDavis

    Did, I read this correctly? The past follows the website and not the website owner? The “Browns” sounds like a generic name to me! What next? Cheers, Mars

    May 10th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Dan

    Hi,

    Maybe the smart guys in the ‘cowboys’ organization will now get a hint that the domain: cowboys .com was worth a ‘tad’ more than $275.00.

    As they should have bought the domain for the 275k and put the current site at dallascowboys .com on cowboys .com and then just ‘redirected’ the traffic from dallascowboys .com to cowboys .com

    When someone talks about the “browns” or “cowboys”…everyone knows exactly what and who you are talking about, no need to have the city name in front of it.

    The single word, also makes much better and easier ‘branding’ sense.

    I bet “Jerry Jones” still does not know about what happen… which I think was a major blunder on many levels their organizations part.

    IMHO as always :)

    Best,
    Dan Brown (give the domain to me…lol)

    May 10th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Dan

    Let’s just hope it doesn’t give the Cowboys the idea that they can use the UDRP system to get this domain name. Circumstances are different, and I am 100% sure the group would respond to the UDRP (unlike this one), and it would likely take the legal route as well.

    May 10th, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Dan

    @ Elliot

    I sure hope not….as they would lose, but could make life very hard and expensive, if they sued for the domain…but they would still lose.

    Thy got what they deserved the first time around (nothing), when the people in the ‘cowboys’ organization, thought The domain was being auctioned off for $275.00.

    Talk about a ‘disconnect’…

    275K was very cheap IMHO for them & well worth every penny and then some.

    With smart guys working for you like this…they do not deserve to have the domain name anyway.

    They now deserve to pay seven figures for it. IMHO

    Did not mean to get to far off the subject…but that whole thing has bugged me forever.

    Peace!
    Dan

    May 10th, 2011 at 6:12 pm

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