Recent Case Notes & Commentary

Rights and Legitimate Interests: Inferences Drawn from Evidence

The case Flatworld Solutions Private Limited v. Invensis Technologies Private Limited (WIPO Case No. DCO2011-0049) and the disputed domain name was <>.

The panelist concluded that such an inference could be drawn. In support of its conclusion, the panel said:

“It has been found in previous cases, where a past relationship has existed between the parties and the respondent does not contest the allegations in the complaint but has merely indicated willingness to transfer the domain name, that this leads to an inference that the respondent under such circumstances could lack rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See Maree Gaye Miller v. Peter Horner, (WIPO Case No. D2008-1492). Based on the email communications of the Respondent dated August 26, 2011 and Sept 2, 2011 where the Respondent has indicated its willingness to transfer to the disputed domain name to the Complainant and given the unchallenged submissions of the Complainant that the Respondent has not been authorised or licensed to use its mark, it is reasonable to infer that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

For the reasons discussed the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as required under the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.” (emphasis added)

The interesting aspect of this decision is that the panelist gave no reason for why the inference should be drawn. Presumably it was that the respondent’s concession showed that it had no defence and knew that it had none. However, it seems equally reasonable to infer that a respondent felt strongly that it had a right to register the domain name and had been using it for legitimate purposes but simply did not want to exacerbate the dispute, antagonise the complainant or invest further time or money in the dispute.