FC: "Sucks" domain name must be awarded to company, WIPO panel says

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Fri Nov 16 2001 - 23:14:58 PST

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    This is an amazingly awful decision. It says that because non-English 
    speakers might be confused by the "sucks" suffix on 
    VIVENDIUNIVERSALSUCKS.COM, the domain name must be turned over to the 
    company it criticizes:
    >the Panel has found that non-English speaking Internet users would be 
    >likely to attach no significance to the appended word 'sucks' and would 
    >therefore regard the disputed domain name as conveying an association with 
    >the Complainant
    The WIPO panel goes so far as to insist that because the band Primus owns 
    the domain name primussucks.com (named after their 1990 album "Suck on 
    This"), prospective visitors to vivendi.com might get confused about who's who.
    From: "j d sallen" <jdsallenat_private>
    To: "Declan McCullagh" <declanat_private>
    Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 12:30:43 -0500
    Yesterday I received the VIVENDIUNIVERSALSUCKS.COM UDRP decision which 
    comes down in favor of pirating this domain name for the company (aka, 
    ordering a transfer). Although, as its (for now) owner, it is my speech 
    rights that are being squashed, I got a good laugh out of the decision. 
    Have they no shame.
    There is a darkly comic component to the VIVENDI decision. The decision of 
    panelists Sir Ian Barker and Alan Limbury  (now a sporting a combined 
    record of 72-10 in favor of complainants, when acting a single panelists) 
    references the rock group Primus. Indeed, they go further with specific 
    mention of Les Claypool, Primus's front-man. Are we supposed to believe 
    that these two "learned" Englishmen are followers of, or familiar with, 
    this particularly quirky rock band? In light of the fact that the 
    complainants in this case are multi-national rock music moguls (who made no 
    mention of Primus or any other group in their complaint, the only 
    communication sanctioned by the UDRP rules), this is one citing that 
    clearly fails the sniff test.
    I recall reading a widely-published rebuttal of Michael Geists's study on 
    UDRP decisions and process, by an IP lawyer I think, arguing that any 
    Panelists whose decisions were consistently pro-complainant or betrayed an 
    agenda would fast be weeded out. Panelists like Ian Barker are perfect 
    cases in point showing the fallacy of that premise. Or perhaps Roberto 
    Bianchi, whose record is a "perfect" 43-0, and counting, in favor of 
    complainants (among these was the CORINTHIANS.COM ruling, as sole 
    panelist). Such intellectually bankrupt decisions are even more problematic 
    than they first appear because poor decisions serve as precedents that 
    enable more and poorer rulings. The result is a UDRP system that has sent 
    fairness into a death-spiral.
    Warm regards,
    J D Sallen
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