The Nominet UK Dispute Resolution Service has just issued a decision in the Apple Computer Inc. v CyberBritain Group Ltd. Not unexpectedly under the facts presented, Apple Computer Inc. won this domain name cybersquatting arbitration and will receive by court order its domain itunes.co.uk to it.
In this case, Apple registered for UK trademark, and shortly thereafter the respondent registered the itunes.co.uk mark. For a period of time, the itunes.co.uk domain simply redirected users to other commercial sites. In the meantime apple had launched itunes software. The cybersquatting respondent tried to leverage its domain name with a competitor of itunes, Napster. The cybersquatter did however deny that that they had any idea that Apple was going to launch itunes when they registered the domain. The arbitrator found that, on the balance of probabilities, the respondent registered the domain name in bad faith and detrimental to the rights of Apple. She ordered the domain name be transferred to complainant.
This decision is a good example of how circumstantial evidence is very powerful in the domain name resolution forum. Because there is far less evidence available to arbitrators, they are forced to make findings of fact based on records that are far less involved than in an actual civil litigation. Based on the circumstantial evidence and in the face of denials an arbitrator can find “based on the probabilities that bad faith registration existed.”