HMRC recovers two domain names using its trademark


HMRC recovers two domain names using its trademark

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HM Revenue and Customs, the UK’s tax collecting authority, has recovered two domain names from a UK-based citizen. 

The complaint was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center in February 2017. 

The domain names in question, and, have remained inactive since registration in February 2016 although its possible they’ve been used in relation to email services, according to HMRC.

“Although the complainant is unable to provide evidence of fraudulent use, it submits that each of the domain names feature characteristics ... typical of domain names that have been or are being used for phishing or other fraudulent use,” said the claim. 

The government body added that the domains “could not be used in any manner without causing widespread confusion”. 

HMRC owns the ‘HMRC’ trademark (UK number 2471470) for classes 9, 16, 25, 26, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42 and 45 in the UK. 

Jon Lang was appointed sole panellist and found that the domains were confusingly similar and that the respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in them. 

“Although no evidence of fraudulent use has been brought forward, the complainant also relies on the presence of certain characteristics of nefarious activity to suggest the possibility that some form of illegitimate activity lay behind registration of the domain names,” said Lang. 

He added that whatever the motives behind registration of the domain, and despite the non-use, he had “no hesitation” in finding that there is evidence of “both registration and use of the domain names in bad faith”. 

The panel ordered the domain names to be transferred to HMRC on April 19, 2017. The decision was published on Monday, May 1. 

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HMRC, trademark, domain names, WIPO, WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre

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