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Michael Geist's Blog

American Girl Loses Battle for AmericanGirl.ca Domain

American Girl, the well-known doll maker, recently lost a domain name battle over AmericanGirl.ca as panelist Bradley Freedman ruled that the company failed to meet the basic requirements in the dot-ca dispute resolution policy. The case should have been a slam dunk as the company's trademark pre-dates the domain name registration, the domain was being used for a pay-per-click site, and the domain name registrant did not even respond to the complaint.  Yet American Girl still lost as it failed meet one of the policy's basic requirements of providing some evidence that the registrant did not have a legitimate interest in the domain name.  In reading Freedman's decision, it is readily apparent that there was ample opportunity to do so, yet the company oddly did not take advantage of a CIRA policy that would have assisted it in making the case.  The left Freedman with little alternative but to conclude:

Policy paragraph 1.1 provides that the purpose of the Policy is to provide a forum in which cases of bad faith domain name registration can be dealt with relatively inexpensively and quickly. Nevertheless, a proceeding under the Policy affects the respective rights of the parties regarding a disputed domain name, and the Policy and Rules expressly require a panel to consider all of the evidence and argument presented in the proceeding and render its decision in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and applicable law. Accordingly, a panel must determine whether a complainant has met its onus regarding each of the elements specified in Policy paragraph 4.1, and if a complainant has failed to do so the panel must dismiss the complaint.

For the reasons set forth above, the Panel is compelled to conclude that the Complainant has failed to satisfy the onus to provide "some evidence" that the Registrant has no legitimate interest in the Domain Name as described in Policy paragraphs 3.4(e) and (f). Consequently, the Complaint cannot succeed.
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