Kavanaugh’s new arguments do not convince the panel.
As I predicted, movie financier Ryan Kavanaugh lost a cybersquatting challenge he issued against YouTuber and H3 podcast host Ethan Klein.
Klein created a website at doesryankavanaughlooklikeharveyweinstein.com that compares Kavanaugh’s appearance to that of the disgraced Weinstein and discusses Kavanaugh’s history, including the drunk driving charges.
Kavanaugh made new arguments in the UDRP he filed to try to have the domain taken down. For example, he argued that both parties are in the entertainment space, so they are competitive, and thus Klein benefits from Kavanaugh’s brand. He also argued that the website was created for commercial purposes as it embeds one of Klein’s YouTube videos and earns money when ads are shown on the videos. The video in question showed Klein criticizing Kavanaugh.
The World Intellectual Property Organization panel didn’t believe him:
Complainant also argues that Respondent generates revenue from Respondent’s website and competes with Complainant in entertainment services based on a link to a YouTube video of the H3 podcast on the website. of the Respondent. Complainant submits that the YouTube video generates revenue from hundreds of thousands of views, but the YouTube video contains critical comments about Complainant in accordance with Respondent’s objective to criticize Complainant elsewhere on Respondent’s website, and is not prominently displayed on Respondent’s website. In the Panel’s view, the YouTube video link demonstrates only a minimal and incidental degree of commercial activity, and Respondent’s website is primarily devoted to non-commercial criticism.
Kavanaugh also argued that Klein’s site on Kavanaugh receives more traffic than his own site. Not only was this based on a third-party site data system, but it likely just shows the weakness of the complainant’s brand.
Finally, Kavanaugh did not say which of the items on Klein’s website were not true. Anyone who writes about controversial topics is used to hearing people claim their site is defamatory or slanderous, but when they ask which one is wrong, they never get an answer:
Plaintiff suggests that Defendant defamed Plaintiff or tarnished Plaintiff’s Mark via “lies” on Defendant’s website. But Complainant has not identified which statements made by Defendant on the website are “lies” or evidence that any content on Defendant’s website is defamatory.
The panel ruled in favor of Klein on the issues of legitimate rights or interests and bad faith registration and use. He did not formally determine whether the domain was similar to Kavanaugh’s brand. However, two of the panelists believe there was no confusing similarity as it’s clear Kavanaugh isn’t exploiting it.
Novian & Novian LLP represented Kavanaugh and Fox Rothschild LLP represented Klein.