Online social news service BuzzFeed has successfully transferred a domain name containing its trademark after it was registered in bad faith.
Michael Albert, a panellist at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center, ruled that buzzfeednews.com should be transferred to BuzzFeed after deeming that the registrant had no legitimate interest in the domain.
The domain was registered by US resident Ryan Lenahan in July 2013 and took users to an inactive page.
BuzzFeed registered a US trademark for its name covering news services in September 2014, six years after it obtained a trademark for advertising and marketing purposes.
Lenahan did not respond to BuzzFeed’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy complaint, filed in May.
In the ruling, issued on June 29 but published only yesterday, July 15, Albert wrote: “Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is deceptive and misleading inasmuch as it wholly incorporates complainant’s ‘Buzzfeed’ mark combined with the generic term ‘news’, suggesting that respondent’s website is the landing page for complainant’s BuzzFeed News service.”
BuzzFeed, which is well known for its ‘listicles’—articles presented in numbered or bullet point form—has started expanding into a more rounded news service. The website claims to reach “over one billion readers”.
Last year, it sacked its political editor Benny Johnson after claims he lifted text from other articles.
BuzzFeed issued an official apology, stating that the plagiarism was a “breach of our fundamental responsibility to be honest with you”.
Johnson also tweeted any apology “to the writers who were not properly attributed”.
BuzzFeed; UDRP; WIPO; domain name; buzzfeednews.com, cybersquatting