SW Legal Educational Publishing

Using a Competitor's Trademark in Domain Name Is Cybersquatting
Description Appeals court held that the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act required that a firm that registered and used a domain name that contained a competitors well-known trademark was in bad faith. The domain name must be released to the trademark owner.
Topic Cyberlaw
Key Words Cybersquatting; Domain Names
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Sportsman's is a mail order company that is well known in the aviation field. It began using the logo "sporty" in the 1960s and registered "sporty's" as a trademark in 1985. It spends about $10 million a year advertising its sporty's logo. A competitor to sporty's, Pilot's Depot, was set up in early 1995 and it registered the domain name sportys.com. The competitor then set up another company, Sporty's Farm, which took the domain name sportys.com to advertise the sale of its Christmas trees on that web site. The question before the court was which company had the right to the domain name.
Decision The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act applied in this case. Sporty's is a distinctive trademark that is due protection under the Act. The domain name sportys.com was confusingly similar to the sporty's trademark, especially since apostrophes cannot be used in domain names. The competitor company acted in bad faith, intending to profit from the sporty's trademark and intending to keep Sportsman's from using the domain name. The competitor must release its interest in sportys.com and transfer the name to Sportsman's.
Citation Sporty's Farm L.L.C. v. Sportsman's Market, Inc., 202 F.3d 489 (2nd Cir., 2000)

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