UDRP Filed Against Bostonian.com (Updated)
A UDRP has been filed against Bostonian.com. The complainant in this case is C & J Clark America Inc., which I believe owns the Bostonian shoe brand. The UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and it is WIPO Case D2016-1159.
Bostonian.com is an old domain name having been created in 1995. I don’t regularly see UDRP cases involving domain names that are over 20 years old. I did a Whois history search, and the oldest historical Whois record at DomainTools is from 2000. At that point, the admin contact was someone in Washington. Although the Whois information was private for quite some time, the current registrant has the same last name as the admin contact in 2000 and is also located in Washington. My guess is that it is the same person / entity that owns the domain name now as it was back then and maybe before.
The domain name landing page currently seems to show shoe-related advertisements, although I am not sure if the domain owner has control over what is being displayed within those links. There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that says “Copyright Bostonian.com (not related to the Bostonian Shoe)“. I am not sure how a UDRP panel will look at that.
One of the three aspects a complainant needs to prove is that the domain name “has been registered and is being used in bad faith.” If the current registrant is the same registrant as it was in 2000 or before, it could be hard to prove that the domain name was registered in bad faith. Archive.org shows that Bostonian.com was used differently back in 2000, with a heading that says, “The Smarter Way to Find Greater Boston Information” and a footer that says, “Boston Media Networks Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998. All rights reserved.”
I think the Bostonian brand is well known, but there are other uses for the term. I have rarely heard someone refer to a Boston resident as a Bostonian, but I don’t really know of another term that would be equivalent to New York City residents being called New Yorkers. I also recall someone who went to college with me who had the last name Bostonian.
In any case, this will be an interesting case to watch because of the age of the domain name, prior usage, and the current usage.
Update: According to UDRPSearch.com, this UDRP proceeding has been terminated. The Whois has also updated, and the owner of Bostonian.com is C. & J. Clark America, Inc. Because the UDRP is terminated, I am not sure if there was some type of financial settlement or if the domain owner gave the domain name to the company.
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