Wal-Mart Stores v. Walsucks

Case No. D2000-0477 (2000)

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Wal-Mart Stores v. Walsucks

World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center
Case No. D2000-0477 (2000)

Facts

Discount retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) (plaintiff) owned the registered trademark “Wal-Mart,” which was well-known both in the United States and in other countries. Walsucks and Walmarket Puerto Rico a/k/a Kenneth Harvey (collectively, Harvey) (defendants) registered several domain names that incorporated the “Wal-Mart” trademark followed by a place name and, in some of the names, the word sucks. Harvey’s domain names included walmartpuertorico.com, walmartpuertoricosucks.com, and wal-martcanadasucks.com. In other words, Harvey appended the pejorative verb sucks to domain names that, in the absence of that term, were clearly confusingly similar to Wal-Mart’s mark. Harvey styled himself as a domain-name consultant, author, and promoter of free speech, but he contacted Wal-Mart and offered to sell Wal-Mart at least some of the domain names. In fact, it was apparent that Harvey registered the domain names, at least in part, for the purpose of inducing Wal-Mart to pay him for the disputed domain names by threatening to disrupt Wal-Mart’s business. Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart objected to Harvey’s uses of its trademark. Wal-Mart filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center, seeking transfer of the disputed domain names.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Abbott, J.)

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