Disney Enterprises v. Zuccarini

Case No. D2001-0489 (2001)

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Disney Enterprises v. Zuccarini

World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center
Case No. D2001-0489 (2001)

Facts

John Zuccarini (respondent) registered thousands of domain names for the purpose of providing click-through traffic to advertisers on his websites. Many of Zuccarini’s domain names incorporated well-known trademarks of others, including Disney Enterprises, Inc. (Disney) (complainant), owner of the “Disney” and “Disney World” trademarks. Zuccarini registered seven domain names that incorporated variations on the Disney name. Zuccarini was neither associated with Disney nor authorized to use its marks. Each of the disputed domain names incorporated the “Disney” mark, and six of the seven had Disney at the beginning of the domain name. Four of the disputed domain names included deliberate misspellings, including disneywold.com and disneychanel.com. Five of the disputed domain names linked users to a website run by Zuccarini; he had not used the other two. Zuccarini charged fees to customers who advertised on the site, and his click-based revenue was approaching $1 million per year. Astute visitors would realize on arrival that they were not at their intended Disney destination; however, less discerning users might continue for some time on Zuccarini’s site in the mistaken belief that they were browsing a Disney website. Zuccarini admitted to having intentionally registered domain names that were confusingly similar to famous marks because these domain names would divert Internet traffic to his website. As a condition of registering the disputed domain names, Zuccarini had agreed to be bound by the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy with respect to any disputes that might arise from the registrations. Disney filed a complaint, alleging that Zuccarini’s registrations incorporating the Disney marks violated the policy. After finding that the domain names Zuccarini registered were confusingly similar to Disney’s trademarks and that Zuccarini had no legitimate interest in the marks, the Arbitration and Mediation Center panel turned to the question of whether Zuccarini’s use of the marks was in bad faith.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Harris, J.)

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