Viking Range Corporation, established under the laws of
Mississippi, USA and located therein, moved to the WIPO Arbitration
and Mediation Centre, with regard to its grievance in relation to
its rights in the mark and name VIKING and VIKING COOKING SCHOOL,
being the owner of the trademark VIKING and holder of registrations
in respect of the same in the USA. The matter posing itself forth
the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Administrative Panel
Decision as Viking Range Corporation v. Domains By Proxy
[2008 (37) PTC 624 (WIPO)]
The first of these registrations dates back to 1987, while the
domain name under contention gcookingschools.com was registered in
2005. The WHOIS database revealed that a proxy service had been put
to use to get the domain name under contention registered. The use
of a proxy service to obtain registration, an increasingly common
practice prevents the name of the true registrant to be displayed.
The Panelist noted that such a practice may have been adopted to
maintain privacy and that several reputable proxy service providers
exist. However, noting the existent potential for cyber squatters,
the Panel opined that proxy service providers must divulge all
details of original owners and that the domain name be frozen,
while the proceedings remain pending. On the possibility of two
parties acting as Respondent, the Panelist decided that the
respondent would proceed in the name of the proxy service provider
since the name of the beneficial owner was undisclosed by him.
Taking note of all the trade and service marks registered, the
panel observed that the disputing domain name was similar to
Viking' marks and domain name (www.vikingcookingschool.com).
Viking asserted that confusion was bound to be caused in the minds
of the consumers, as also on entering the website, they might be
diverted to the web page gcookingschools.com registered by Domains
By Proxy. They not having demonstrated or established any
legitimate interest were stated by the Panelist to have been
holding or "parking" the domain name. Viking stated that
at the time of the registration of Domain By Proxy' domain
name, they were aware of Viking' marks owing to substantial
advertising and marketing of the name and the Marks. Domain By
Proxy did not revert to any of these contentions, and it was
observed that no legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the
domain name was being made.
Deliberating upon the various contentions, the Panel noted that
on seeing the disputed domain name, consumers were likely to be
directed to the disputed domain name, and that the domain name
registered by Domains by Proxy was identical or confusingly
similar. To determine the rights and legitimate interests,
Paragraph 4(c) of the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy and
giving due accord to the facts of the scenario, stated that a
domain name should have been registered as also used in bad faith
for a complaint to succeed. The panel noted, that a plethora of
precedents were existent whereby the use of a disputed domain name
to redirect Internet users to websites that host links to external
websites was stated to evidence bad faith. The Panel concluded that
the disputed website was in fact being used in bad faith. In the
pursuance, the domain name was ordered to be transferred to Viking
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