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Chad Folkening’s eCorp Beats Tribune Company in Domain Dispute

June 6, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, ecorp, Policy & Law, tribune media, udrpComments Off on Chad Folkening’s eCorp Beats Tribune Company in Domain Dispute

Panel refuses to give Tribune Media the domain name.

Chad Folkening’s eCorp has beaten Goliath in a UDRP decision.

Folkening, who recently teamed up with John Ferber for Domain Holdings, is the registrant of over 1,000 “channel” domain names including

Tribune Company publishes a number of newspapers and web sites, including Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times. It also operates a service called Channel Guide. Channel Guide’s online presence is at a decidedly poor domain name: So the company filed a UDRP to try to upgrade its domain names.

eCorp argued that it registered the domain name in 1997 with plans to make it a hub for its many channel sites. The one person panel didn’t buy that argument, noting that it has been 14 years since the domain name was registered and it’s still parked. Of course, eCorp pointed out that Tribune Company let the domain name sit for 14 years without action.

However, panelist Christopher S. Gibson agreed that eCorp did not register the domain name in bad faith, writing:

…there is insufficient evidence to show that Respondent targeted Complainant and its CHANNEL GUIDE trademark, and thereby intended to disrupt Complainant’s business, when it registered the Domain Name almost 14 years ago in 1997. The CHANNEL GUIDE mark is comprised of two common words and Complainant has provided little evidence of the mark’s reputation or distinctiveness (outside of the trademark registration itself), all facts which weigh against a finding of relevant notice and targeting in this case… Further, Respondent has registered thousands of “channel-related” domain names, which is another point that weighs against a finding that there was targeting of Complainant’s trademark, in particular. Respondent has also indicated that the USPTO’s on-line searchable trademark database was not available in 1997, when the Domain Name was registered. In view of all the facts and circumstances presented in this case, the Panel determines, on balance, that the Domain Name was not registered in bad faith, even if it has been used by Respondent in an infringing and bad faith manner.

Gibson said the domain name may have been used in bad faith…an issue better left to the courts to decide. He denied Tribune Company’s case.

© 2011.

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