PayPal has won control of a domain name that had been used to criticise the company and promote websites that competed with the payment provider.
The US-based Alternative Dispute Resolution Forum granted victory to PayPal after it had complained about paypals.com, registered in 2003.
Panellist Charles McCotter said there was no evidence PayPal had ever authorised the registrant, David Weiss, to use its trademark in a domain name.
PayPal waited 16 years before filing a complaint with the forum, with the respondent claiming this long delay should qualify as a defence under the doctrine of laches—an unreasonable delay in pursuing a legal claim.
However, McCotter said laches does not help the respondent because when the complaint was filed in 2016, his attempt to sell the domain name to PayPal for $10,000 prevented him from having legitimate rights in it.
He added that the domain should be transferred because of its critical content:
“Use of a confusingly similar domain name to display criticism of complainant’s business and competing hyperlinks is not a bona fide offering of goods or services or any legitimate noncommercial or fair use.”
The respondent had claimed he only redirected the website to a gripe site after being “harassed” by PayPal and believing the diversion to be necessary to prevent the company from taking the disputed domain name.
However, the panellist rejected the respondent’s case in his August 17 decision.
PayPal, domain name, Alternative Dispute Resolution, paypals.com, doctrine of laches