Panel rules that the company tried to reverse domain name hijacking.
Royal Caribbean Cruises was involved in a case of piracy, but it was the perpetrator, and it didn’t take place on the high seas.
The company filed a cybersquatting dispute under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) against the domain name StaroftheSea.com.
Royal Caribbean has trademarks for “of the seas” and is about to release a new boat called Star of the Sea.
The domain owner, Synergy Technologies, buys and sells domain names. Synergy said it purchased the domain name because Star of the Sea is another name for the Virgin Mary.
A three-person World Intellectual Property Organization found (pdf) in the domain holder’s favor and found the cruise line guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
This is one of those cases where pay-per-click links helped the domain owner’s case. The domain resolves to a parked landing page with links for “Online Catholic Mass, Roman Catholic Church” and “Live Catholic Mass Online.” This helped the panel determine that Synergy had rights or legitimate interests in the domain and did not register it in bad faith.
The panel wrote:
…it is obvious that Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and that Respondent has not used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith, because the PPC links on the website associated with the Disputed Domain Name – as shown in Complainant’s own exhibit – are unrelated to Complainant or Complainant’s trademarks and instead are solely related to the religious meaning of the phrase “Star of the Sea.” Complainant (who is represented by an attorney) has cited no relevant authority that would support its conclusions to the contrary. Accordingly, the facts demonstrate that Complainant (via its attorney) knew or should have known it could not succeed as to two of the three required elements. As a result, the Panel finds that the complaint was brought in bad faith, in an attempt at RDNH.