Forum Claim No: FA2107001953715
17 August 2021
The answer is probably that if it sounds like a duck and walks like a duck it probably is one. At least, that was the view of the panellist who decided the recent case of Duck Duck Go, Inc. v. Domain Administrator / Fundacion Privacy Services LTD.
The trademark was DUCKDUCKGO and the domain name was <ducksuckgo.com>. The similarities were of course that the words “duck” and “go” were both repeated from the trademark into the domain name, so they were somewhat similar. But the domain name does take on a different complexion from the trademark, which might tilt the scales the other way. As the panellist pointed out, the small change had in fact created a new word.
But, the panellist added, “the overall impression is still clearly similar”. Indeed, the fact that the word “sucks” had been added actually drew attention to the trademark and asserted that the Complainant’s services were unsatisfactory; so the domain name was not “new”. That tended to suggests that the domain name was probably echoing the trademark.
Was the panellist correct? Probably.
The fact that the registrant was using the domain name to try to install malware probably did not help.