Must Show Rights and Legitimate Interests After 14 Years’ Delay By Trademark Owner
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Inc. v. Alternative Advertising Concepts, Inc. / Kenneth Forman, NAF Case, Claim No. FA 1204001440736 (June 26, 2012).
The Complainant had the trademarks NFR and NATIONAL FINALS RODEO and the Respondent had the domain names nfr.com and nationalfinalsrodeo.net.
The case is a significant in that laches or delay was held to be “a defence” and to give further support to the legitimacy of the Respondent’s rights and interests in the domain names that had been established by a descriptive and nominative fair use.
Laches was credited with that importance because the Complainant had stood by for 14 years, aware that the Respondent through its website and others had been selling tickets to the National Finals Rodeo and had done nothing about it.
Laches, the panel said, was an equitable defence to the UDRP preceding which itself provided an equitable remedy. In any case it was a valid defence in trademark law in the US.
The panel relied on the significant New York Times case in reaching its decision.