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Messer Defends Descriptive StreetPrice.com Domain Name

November 18, 2009Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, roy messer, udrpComments Off on Messer Defends Descriptive StreetPrice.com Domain Name

Seller of Vodka.com wins UDRP case over StreetPrice.com.

Roy Messer, perhaps best known in domain circles for selling Vodka.com for $3 million, has successfully defended an attack on his StreetPrice.com domain name. Messer was represented by domain attorney Ari Goldberger.

The complaint was brought by the web site StreetPrices.com, a price comparison web site launched in 1997. Messer registered the StreetPrice.com domain name in 1998.

The panel found that the Messer showed he had rights or legitimate interests in the domain name for a number of reasons, including that “Street Price” is a descriptive and generic term. Messer has also registered other descriptive domain names, such as BigSavings.com. StreetPrices.com’s trademark wasn’t added to the USPTO register until 2001, and at that point was only on the supplemental register.

There was some debate amongst the three person panel as to if StreetPrices.com was identical or confusingly similar to the StreetPrices.com mark. The majority of the panel found in favor of the complainant, but panelist Neil Brown dissented, writing:

…the question is whether the domain name streetprice.com is confusingly similar to the STREETPRICES.COM trademark which describes in the most general way the street or discounted prices of undefined objects but, presumably, of goods and services in general. It is, of course, tempting to conclude that the mere omission of the letter “s” in the domain name generates a confusing similarity. But, as was pointed out in Tire Discounters, Inc. v. TireDiscounters.com, where the domain name tirediscounter.com was held not to be confusingly similar to the trademark TIRE DISCOUNTERS, it was the absence of the “s” that made the difference, for, as the three person panel said: “The omission of the letter “s” from the mark is one of those small differences that matters in this context”. It matters because the trademark itself is of a very generalized nature and the difference in spelling in the domain name suggests that the domain name may well be dealing with a different subject than the trademark.


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