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Recent Case Notes & Commentary

VAPING CYBERSQUATTER BITES THE DUST


With the increasing prominence of vaping, it was only a matter of time before domain names concerning vapes would themselves become prominent.


And so it has become.


A recent example of how these cases end up in the domain name arbitration process was seen in the case of

JUUL Labs, Inc. v. Faruk Pazarlama which was decided on February 11, 2024 by The Hon Neil Brown KC.


Juul Labs’ products “deliver nicotine satisfaction akin to a cigarette in a format known as a vaporizer", as it described its products in the Complaint lodged under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("UDRP") and filed with the FORUM in Minneapolis. Juul was chasing two domain names registered by Faruk Pazarlama. One of them was <juulturkiye1.com> and the second one was <jullturkiye2.com>. In the first one , Pazarlama had simply copied the JUUL trademark. In the second one, he decided to be inventive and changed the spelling of JUUL to JULL when he created the domain name, but it was still obviously an attempt to copy the JUUL trademark.


In each case, he added the word "turkiye" and the figures 1 and 2 respectively. The overall meaning of both domain names was that they were pretending to be official JUUL domain names and their dealer/ seller in Turkey, but in reality they were directed to websites that claimed to be selling genuine JUUL vapes and which advertised vapes under the JUUL name, and not JUUL's actual domain itself. This was obviously misleading.


The Arbitrator decided that the whole thing was deceptive and ordered both domain names to be transferred to JUUL.


Pazarlama did not defend the claim. It also did not help its case by having been involved in six previous cases where JUUL had recovered similar domain names from him, so he was a proven serial offender. Not a good start.


The case shows the importance of manufacturers, not just suppliers of vapes but suppliers of all goods and services, keeping their trademarks up to date for when they might be needed. It also shows the importance of collecting their evidence of the way the domain names are being used and evidence of the domain name holder having been involved in prevous cases. Of courses, all cases need evidence to succeed.


Expect to see more such cases.


You may read the whole decision at https://www.adrforum.com/DomainDecisions/2078694.htm

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