Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

Steve Levy ⬥ 19 July

Even though the result in this case ended in a transfer, we are reminded that just because a UDRP Respondent fails to submit a response doesn’t mean that a decision will automatically be made in favor of the complainant.

PayPal, Inc., filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against Daniel Benel over the domain name mypaypal.com.

In its complaint, PayPal, a well known website that prides itself on its ability to offer a fast, safe way to pay and get paid online, contended that the domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark and corporate name, that Benel does not have any rights or legitimate interest in the domain, and that the domain was registered and is being used in bad faith.

Benel failed to reply, yet this does not mean that the WIPO panel was willing to simply award ownership of the domain name to PayPal without properly assessing whether its case was solid or not (except in the case of exceptional circumstances).

The consensus view is that a respondent’s default does not automatically result in a decision in favor of the complainant and that the complainant must establish each of the three elements required by paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP (WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”) paragraph 4.6).

In proceeding with its assessment of this complaint, the panel did find that PayPal was able to satisfy all three elements of the UDRP policy and that the domain name should be transferred. Potential complainants should take note, though, of the panel’s strict adherence to the rules and, no matter what kind of respondent they may be dealing with, they must always be prepared to make their case and meet all requirements set forth by the UDRP.

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