Coachella Music Festival, LLC v. travis harris
Claim Number: FA1910001866486 November 8, 2019
The prominent US music festival, Coachella has recently brought several complaints to the UDRP. While it has had mixed success in the past, this recent successful case highlights an important point. The UDRP allows for Complainants to seek transfer of domains that are not only identical to their trademarks, but also confusingly similar to their trademarks. Therefore, misspelling a trademark in a domain name will not save a Cybersquatter from the UDRP, if they are found to be using it to take unfair advantage of that trademark’s reputation.
In its most recent case, Coachella sought transfer of the disputed domain name <hochellaatl.com>. This domain comprised of a “hochella,” a phonetically similar misspelling of their COACHELLA trademark, and a location identifier “atl”. It has long been established that both misspellings and location identifiers do not negate a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP, and as such, the Complainant succeeded under that element.
With regards to the subsequent two elements of the UDRP, the Complainant alleged the Respondent was using the website to sell competing products and divert users. Given the case was undefended, and there was nothing present to doubt the Complainant’s allegations, it became clear that this was a relatively obvious case of cybersquatting. The Panel found the remaining elements of the UDRP in favour of the Complainant, the Complaint was upheld and the domain transferred.