Beyond fair use
Originally posted 2013-11-27 12:37:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
We’re a little obsessed here with the rights of “unauthorized” resellers to use the trademarks that describe the stuff they’re reselling. So this UK domain name decision strikes us as extra-interesting (a link added):
Pressure gauge maker ITT failed in its claim for the domain name ITTbarton.com and 12 other domain names owned by a seller of ITT pressure gauges, Douglas Nicoll, and his company Differential Pressure Instruments. . . .
Nicoll, based in Norfolk, Virginia, sells products that were made by ITT and purchased by the US Government but never used. The government sold off its surplus stock to Nicoll and others who bought them for resale.
ITT argued that Nicoll had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain names. . . . ITT argued that the Oki Data test should be limited to authorised resellers only. The WIPO panel disagreed.
“The Complainants argue that the Oki Data rationale should not apply to an unauthorized reseller,” said the ruling. “The Panel concludes, however, that the issues of legitimate reseller interests in accurately describing a lawful business, on the one hand, and of potential abuses of trademark, on the other, are similar whether or not there is a contractual relationship between the parties.” . . .
The panel said that Nicoll had “a legitimate interest in making nominative use of the ITT mark consistent with the Oki Data requirements; consequently this does not reflect bad faith.”
Well, of course.