There has been some commentary about the recent Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) decision against white hat domainer Frank Schilling's regarding the chillibeans.com domain. For those who have been paying attention, this decision is not so surprising. Rather than label the decision ridiculous domainers need to appreciate that this decision is not outside the norm or trend under the UDRP and make smart business decisions about parking their most valuable domainers.
In a unanimous 3 member panel decision by William R. Towns, M. Scott Donahey & Sir Ian Barker, Schilling was found to have engaged in bad faith cybersquatting , under the UDRP by registering the domain chillibeans.com after Complainant had registered trademark rights for "chili beans" for the sale of sunglasses. Schilling was represented by John Berryhill.
Now, anyone who knows Frank also knows that he had no knowledge or notice of the prior trademark rights in the non-dictionary use of chili beans when he registered the domain. The problem is that Frank, like all other domainers, are stuck with a parking system that delivers advertisements for non-dictionary uses of otherwise generic domains (ie trademark uses). In this case, Frank's parking page software served up some limited adds for 'eye glasses' in addition to food items. We have posted about the need for more sophisticated software (and support from Google as well) which allow PPC advertisers to exclude certain product offerings from the parked pages before:
- Excluding Keyword Categories From Your Parked Pages In Order To Avoid Cybersquatting Violations
- Parking Pages Can Create Risk Of A Finding Of Bad Faith Under the UDRP
- One of the Rarely discussed Benefits of Domain and Website Development
- The Three Views of Trademark Cybersquatting
- Hobbits v. Hobbitts: Generic Mark Argument Won't Prevent Panel From Seeing Pay Per Click Parking as Bad Faith
- "Low Value" Domain Parking Pages Results In Another Lawsuit Against Google By Advertisers
There are three lessons every domainer -- at least those who are willing to deal with the legal realities under the UDRP and ACPA -- should take from this decision. (1) do a trademark search for every valuable domain within your portfolio, (2) exclude ads to the extent you can from being served up on your parked pages which include products in trademark protected areas and (3) consider excluding your most valuable domains from parking programs all together (they are worth more 'for sale' than from parked revenue).