WIPO Rules in Favor of LionsDen.com Owner

Feb 18, 2011 3:00 PM PST
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Adult retailer the Lion’s Den has lost its domain dispute with the owners of LionsDen.com over claims that the domain infringed on the retailer’s rights.

Mile Inc., which owns the Lion’s Den retail brand of adult products and operates 40 retail stores in 18 states as well as the commercial site LionsDenAdult.com, filed the complaint last November with the World Intellectual Property Organization claiming that the domain name is confusingly similar to its mark, for which it claimed common law protection since 1971.

Mile also said that the LionsDen.com owner registered and used the domain name in bad faith in an attempt to mislead Internet users and exploit its mark for commercial gain.

The owner of LionsDen.com, a site which features various content about lions, said he registered the domain name in 1995 for personal use and argued that that he didn’t register the domain name in an attempt to infringe on the complainant’s brand.

The complainant suggested to WIPO that the current owner of the domain name may not have actually been the original registrant in 1995. But the panel said the complainant didn’t provide any evidence of this claim.

WIPO agreed with the LionsDen.com owner saying, “The panel concludes that the complainant has not met its burden of establishing the probability that the respondent registered the domain name in a bad faith effort to exploit the complainant’s mark.”

Another reason the panel determined that the domain name wasn’t registered in bad faith was because “Respondent is not a professional domainer.”

Another obstacle facing the adult retailer was the fact that the domain name is generic and was registered some 15 years before it filed the complaint.

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