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October 13, 2010 / Nate Harris

Al-Durra Food Products Company v. Aldurra Group

Summary of Al-Durra Food Products Company v. Aldurra Group
(WIPO Case No. D2010-1226)

Filed: July 23, 2010; Decided: September 20, 2010 (Panelist: Nasser A. Khasawneh)

Disputed Domain Name: <aldurra.com>

 

aldurra.com

 

The Parties

Complainant Al-Durra Food Products Company (“Al-Durra”) has been a Syrian marketer of food products since 1979. Al-Durra claims that it is the previous and rightful owner of the disputed domain, which was managed by its creative services agency. According to Al-Durra, Respondent Aldurra Group (“Respondent”) hijacked the disputed domain by hacking into the creative service agency’s email and fraudulently transferring the domain to itself.

Respondent did not respond to the complaint, which, according to the Panel, “largely disregards the legal framework of the Policy.”

Identical or Confusingly Similar

The complaint does not allege that the disputed domain is identical or confusingly similar to the disputed domain. Yet the Panel notes that Al-Durra has proven rights in the mark DURRA and in a logo displaying the words “al-Durra.” Accordingly, the Panel takes it upon itself to find that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to those marks.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel notes that Al-Durra’s allegations of wrongdoing by the Respondent are significant; however, according to the Panel, those allegations are factually unsupported and, at times, contradicted by the annexes to the complaint. For example, the annexes contain correspondence from the creative services agency in which it claimed (wrongly) to be the trademark owner.  In another correspondence, the registrar claims to have received receipts suggesting that the Respondent legitimately purchased the disputed domain from the creative services agency.

In light of these supposed contradictions, the Panel notes that while it may accept as true the factual allegations in an uncontradicted complaint, it is not required to do so. In light of the “contradictions and questions that appear in the record,” the Panel finds it would be unsound to conclude that the Panelist has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain.

Bad Faith

The contradictions and questions in the record, coupled with Al-Durra’s mere “naked allegations” of bad faith, fail to support a finding of bad faith registration or use.

Decision

The complaint is denied.

Commentary

Though the UDRP has been applied to stolen domain cases in the past, I’m not sure this is the appropriate forum. The complainant does not contradict itself here; rather, the complaint contains correspondence from the registrar that contradicts the complaint. Essentially, the parties (and non-parties) disagree over whether the domain has been sold. This is a highly factual inquiry that requires cross-examination and evaluating the credibility of witnesses and the parties. So why on Earth would the Panel wade into this dispute? It may be the right outcome, but this is not the type of “abusive registration” situation contemplated by the UDRP.

Epilogue

<aldurra.com> points to a website of a food seller, but it’s unclear whether the site is associated with the complainant, the respondent, or someone else.

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