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Facebook Wins Domain Name Dispute

Published August 4, 2010

Facebook has emerged triumphant in its battle to regain control over the domain name.

While the registrant of said he never created any website for the domain, nor has he tried to sell it; among its claims Facebook stated, "The Respondent registered the Domain Name with full knowledge that he could derive profit from the Domain Name by either attracting users to his website or by selling the Domain Name at a substantial mark up."

In a decision handed down from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Panel reviewing the case found:

(a) That the disputed domain name was identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(b) That the respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(c) That the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

Based on these three standard criteria for such cases, the Panel ordered the domain name be transferred to Facebook. The name is already redirecting to Facebook's primary site.

This case is a reminder to people wanting to register domain names, either for personal or business use or for profit; that they should be careful of trademark infringements. Often people new to the world of "domaining" (domain name trading), will see a name associated with a famous brand available and register it - and in most cases where the brand owner takes action, the registrant loses control of the name. 

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system.

The full WIPO Administrative Panel Decision can be viewed here.


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