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October 26, 2010 / Nate Harris

BlackRock, Inc. v. WideArc Solutions

Summary of BlackRock, Inc. v. WideArc Solutions
(WIPO Case No. D2010-1407)

Filed: August 20, 2010; Decided: October 6, 2010 (Panelist: W. Scott Blackmer)

Disputed domain name: <blackrockacquisitions.com>

blackrockacquisitions.com

The Parties

Complainant BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”) is a New York-based financial and investment management services company. The company was founded in 1988, and owns several trademark registrations dating to 1999 for marks incorporating the word BLACKROCK. It holds more than $3.3 trillion in assets, with 1500 professionals in twenty-four countries. Several of BlackRock’s funds invest in energy and natural resources companies.

Respondent WideArc Solutions (“WideArc”) did not respond to the complaint. WideArc is a Dallas-based company that “buys, sells, and leases property for oil and natural gas production, wind energy projects, and pipeline rights-of-way, as well as for farming, ranching, and hunting.”

Identity or Confusing Similarity

BlackRock “indisputably holds rights in the BLACKROCK mark.” The disputed domain includes the mark in its entirety. Furthermore, the addition of the word “acquisitions” does not lessen the likelihood of confusion, especially since BlackRock acquires investment assets as part of its business.

Accordingly, BlackRock has satisfied the first prong.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel find that WideArc has satisfied Paragraph 4(c)(i) and (ii) of the Policy:

[I]t is evident from a perusal of the website associated with the Domain Name that it concerns the business of a limited liability company bearing a name corresponding to the Domain Name. That company was registered in Texas in 2007, before this dispute arose, and it appears from the website that the Respondent offers commercial services under the name of the registered company.

Because WideArc has made a bona fide offering of services using the disputed domain name prior to this UDRP action, and is “commonly known” by the name BLACKROCK, the second prong is not established.

Bad Faith

[T]he Panel cannot agree with the Complainant that the evidence establishes the probability that the Domain Name was registered and used in a bad faith attempt to divert potential investors from the Complainant. Rather, it appears that the Domain Name was used in connection with a bona fide business known by a corresponding name. Absent evidence that this business was a sham or operated unlawfully, the Panel does not find bad faith in the registration and use of the Domain Name.

Decision

The Complaint is denied.

Commentary

The evidence would seem to suggest that the BLACKROCK mark is well-known and/or famous. BlackRock’s rights in its mark date back to 1999, well before WideArc began using the mark in 2007 or later.  How, then, can WideArc be making a bona fide offering of services?

Epilogue

<blackrockacquisitions.com> still points to WideArc’s website.

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