Case Number: D2019-2247
Represented by: Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP
The video streaming service, Vudu, has been found guilty of attempted Reverse Domain Name Hijacking after trying to grab the domain vudo.com from its owner, who is also the original registrant of the domain. The case was filed on September 16, 2019 against the owner, whose name is privacy protected. However, the UDRP ruling shows the domain owner lives in the United Kingdom. Vudu is based in the United States, and it is a subsidiary of Wal-Mart. The RDNH ruling was handed up less than two months after being filed, by a three-member panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Vudu argued that the domain vudo.com was too similar to its trademarks for the name, Vudu; however, the respondent originally registered the domain in 1999. Vudu did not acquire any trademarks until late 2007, the panel observed.
“In this case, the Complainant had no trademark at the time the Respondent registered the Domain Name or for many years thereafter,” the panel wrote. “The Respondent’s interest in the Domain Name at the time of registration could not have been in the ‘trademark value’ of the Domain Name in relation to the Complainant but rather in its generic value.”
In declaring a finding of bad faith against Vudu, and Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, the panel lambasted attorneys for Vudu for ignoring obvious deficiencies in the case.
“Even without glancing at the WIPO Overview 3.0, counsel for the Complainant should have recognized from the plain language of the Policy that at the time of registration the Respondent could not have been attacking a trademark that did not exist and was not in contemplation for years to come.”
The ruling was handed up against Vudu on November 15, 2019.