Case Number: FA2007001906337
Complainant: Peoples Bank of Mississippi
Represented by: Alexis Crawford Douglas, K&L Gates LLP
Peoples Bank Of Mississippi has been found guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking by a panel at the National Arbitration Forum, in its effort to gain control of the domain name peoplesbank.com. The company was represented by attorney Alexis Crawford Douglas of the Illinois-based law firm of K&L Gates LLP.
The domain has been held by the current registrant since 2010, when the owner acquired peoplesbank.com in an aftermarket auction. The previous owner had permitted the registration to lapse, and the domain was acquired in a drop-auction.
The banking concern, based in Mendenhall, Mississippi, asserted that it had common-law trademark rights in the phrase “peoples bank”, and that the owner of the domain name was operating a website on peoplesbank.com in a deliberate attempt to divert traffic from the financial institution.
However, the three-member panel did not agree with the complainant’s assessment, noting the phrase “peoples bank” is quite common, and it is used by banks around the United States and North America. The panelists were so irked by the complainant’s arguments, they made note of it in issuing their Reverse Domain Name Hijacking ruling.
“Complainant’s omission of key facts about the generic and common nature of the PEOPLES BANK marks, as well as its use of bald assertions instead of facts and evidence demonstrate that Complainant is engaging in reverse domain name hijacking in filing this complaint,” the panel wrote in its decision.
The ruling was handed up November 11, 2020.