The cybersquatting dispute probably shouldn’t have been filed.
A National Arbitration Forum panelist has dismissed a cybersquatting complaint against tolles.com, and I have questions.
I am puzzled as to why the Complainant filed the case and how he argued it.
Tolles Development Company LLC was established in Nevada on August 8, 2016. Last month, it filed trademarks for Tolles, claiming first use in 2017. These trademarks have not yet been registered.
Tolles.com was registered in 2004, so the plaintiff had to argue that the domain changed hands after the company had common law trademark rights to the name.
And the estate may well have changed hands. The domain was part of the Marchex portfolio and was acquired by GoDaddy. According to DomainTools historical records, the domain was transferred from GoDaddy’s NameFind between July 30 and August 22, 2016.
Thus, the plaintiff could have argued that the domain was registered after having common law trademark rights to the name. Of course, given the delay in registering the domain after the creation of the company, it would have been necessary to show that the respondent was somehow aware of his plans.
Yet Tolles Development Company provided no evidence of common law rights, just an assertion.
It seems like one of two things that happened here. Either Tolle’s attorney at Dickinson Wright PLLC did not research the historical information or he knew about it and he and the client decided to file the case anyway. If he didn’t research historical information, the case shouldn’t have been filed because it shows the domain was registered in 2004. Even if he knew about it, it should have shown copyright almost instantaneous common law or that the domain owner knew the business.
It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. After the case was filed, the plaintiff discovered that the domain was registered in the name of the owner of tolles.org. A look at the historical Whois records for this domain shows that it is owned by someone whose last name is Tolles. This means that the owner has legitimate rights or interests in the domain. At this point, the Complainant should have withdrawn its dispute.