"Sucks Cases" in WIPO Domain Name Decisions

Michal Koščík

Abstract

Does the use of a domain name for criticism constitute the use of the domain
name in Bad Faith?
   Is there any right to register a domain name confusingly similar with the name of
a well known company to tell other people that it is vivisecting animals? Or is it a
legitimate interest to register domain name like bridgestonesucks.com when your
car skids on the wet road?
   Generally speaking there are two approaches to answer these questions. The first
approach says that the right to criticize does not extend to registering a domain
name that is identical or confusingly similar to the owner’s registered trademark.
Second approach considers the freedom of speech and says that there is a legitimate
interest in using the trademark as part of the domain name of a criticism site if the
use is fair and non-commercial.
   Both approaches can be found in the WIPO domain name decisions. The main
issue is to consider whether defendants in “sucks cases” are really intending to
practice their freedom of speech or are just trying to blackmail the complainants. To
prove a good faith defendants have to prove that they are not competitors of
complainants in any way and that they have no commercial profit from their sites.
If there is no other intent than to protest and to ridicule the complainants, the
defendands have legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

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