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October 27, 2010 / Nate Harris

The Karur Vysya Bank Limited v. Personal

Summary of The Karur Vysya Bank Limited v. Personal, Munagala, Lakshminarasimha
(WIPO Case No. D2010-1434)

Filed: August 26, 2010; Decided: October 12, 2010 (Panelist: Alan L. Limbury)

Disputed domain name: <karurvysyabank.com>

The Parties

Complainant Karur Vysya Bank Limited (“KVB”) is an Indian bank founded in 1958. According to KVB, it has offered banking services ever since under the common law mark KARUR VYSYA BANK. In the past few years it has registered several domain names, including including <kvb.co.in> on February 28, 2003, <karurvysya.com> and <thekarurvysyabank.com>, both on October 17, 2003, and <karurvysyabank.in> and <karurvysyabank.co.in> both on July 1, 2005.

The Respondent Personal, Munagala, Lakshminarasimha (“Personal”) did not formally respond to the complaint, but did correspond informally with WIPO. According to the registrar of the disputed domain name, Personal registered the domain in 2004, though it had been registered by another party in 1998.

Identity or Confusing Similarity

The only evidence before the Panel of a registered trademark owned by the Complainant is contained in the annexure to the amended Complaint, which shows the Complainant as registered proprietor of the Indian trademark KVB. The Domain Name is neither identical nor confusingly similar to that mark.

[ . . . ]

To succeed in the Complaint under the Policy in relation to an unregistered mark . . . the Complainant must prove that, prior to filing the Complaint, it had acquired a right in the unregistered mark such as would enable it to bring a legal action against a third person using the mark without its consent.

[ . . . ]

Here the Complainant has made no express claim to common law rights and has provided no evidence of having acquired the requisite reputation. It is not appropriate for the Panel to speculate, nor to accept mere assertion as proof.

Thus, the complaint fails to satisfy Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. Accordingly, the Panel declines to address the other two prongs.

Decision

The Complaint is denied.

Commentary

This case is a good reminder that a complainant must affirmatively prove its own trademark rights, whether the trademark is registered or exists only at common law. Of course, the UDRP lumps this “zeroth prong” requirement in with the disputed domain’s identity or confusing similarity with that trademark, so it is easy to overlook.

Epilogue

<karurvysyabank.com> still does not point to an active website.

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