The issue rule analysis conclusion (IRAC) framework can be applied in this case. This case is important because it addresses the issue, that is whether a trademark owner can use the UDRP (Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy) to obtain a domain name registered in bad faith. This policy enables the owner of a trademark to seek relief from the registrar of domain names when there has been the utilization of a domain name that is confusingly similar or identical to the trademark in question (Lee, 2020). Moniker acted unethically in obtaining and utilizing the following domain websites and names yyankees.com. The name “NEW YORK YANKEES” is a trademark for the Yankees. The US patent and trademark office (PTO) gave the Yankees this trademark on September 13, 1977 (Case Study) (Lee, 2020). Moniker made registration of the domain name with this trademark in mind. Under this domain name, Moniker ran a business website. It linked to commercial websites that sold Yankee baseball tickets and items with the NEW YORK YANKEES trademark without permission from the Yankees.
The rule given is that Moniker did not act ethically when it obtained this domain name because it violated ICANN’s UDRP, which governs how domain names should be registered and used to prevent cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is registering internet domain names without the intention to use them for a legitimate business purpose and then reselling them at a high price (Lee, 2020). In addition, Moniker’s actions infringe upon intellectual property rights owned by another company or person (Lee, 2020). They could harm that company or person by damaging their reputation or leading to financial loss.
In this case, the important question is whether Moniker made a violation of the ICANN policy (Case Study). Since this case involves a dispute over a domain name, there is a need to look at Section 3 of the UDRP, which governs disputes concerning domain names like this one. The UDRP applies because it is a contract between ICANN and registrars, which Moniker signed up for when registering its domains. The UDRP says that a domain name should be transferred if registered in bad faith (Lee, 2020). So my next step is to figure out what bad faith means in this context. Bad faith means registering a domain name with knowledge of an existing trademark or mark you are infringing on or diluting (Lee, 2020). So if Moniker knew about the Yankees’ trademark before registering the domain name, they would have acted in bad faith and violated their contract with ICANN. In this case, the act would be considered as full violation of one’s right with intent.
The policy Moniker violated is found in the UDRP, which posits that if the name of a domain is deemed registered in bad faith, it can be removed from the registrant. The UDRP also specifies what constitutes bad faith, which includes using or registering a domain name to rent, sell, or transfer it to a third party for financial gain without having any civil liberties or valid interests in the domain name (Lee, 2020). Therefore, since Moniker had legitimate interests or rights in the domain name, it should have been taken away from them under UDRP’s bad faith provisions (Lee, 2020). Moniker has nothing to do with the New York Yankees baseball team, so it is unlikely that they thought the team or its fans would be okay with using this domain name.
The analysis of this case entails the fact that UDRP was enacted to conduct conflict resolution between the registrants of domain names and trademark owners regarding the use and registration of domain names that are confusingly the same as existing trademarks. It gives trademark owners a way to get help if they think their rights have been violated because someone else registered a domain name that is likely to confuse their trademark (Lee, 2020). In particular, these complaints must be sent to a service provider that ICANN has approved (Lee, 2020). This service provider analyzes the complaint and determines whether it meets all the requirements for further action under the policy. If there are no problems concerning these issues, then an arbitration panel will be formed to hear both sides’ arguments.
The Component of Bad Faith in the Case
There are two components to bad faith: the domain name was registered and utilized in bad faith. The first criterion is satisfied if the registrant attempts to deceive Internet users about the registrant’s website’s sponsorship, source, association, or authorization by using the complainant’s trademark (Lee, 2020). This is done intentionally to generate income (Lee, 2020). The second condition is satisfied if the registrant lacks sincere interests or rights in the domain’s name (Lee, 2020). A responder satisfies this criterion if he can demonstrate that, before receiving notification from the trademark owner, he intended to use his domain name in conjunction with a legal supply of services or goods.
In this case, the act of bad faith is evident since Moniker registered the domain name and utilized it to direct users to a company website with connections to other business websites (Case Study). Without authorization from the New York Yankees, these commercial websites marketed merchandise and tickets to Yankee baseball events under the NEW YORK YANKEES trademark (Lee, 2020). This is a clear example of registering and utilizing a domain name in bad faith since the primary purpose of the name was to obscure who was selling the advertised items or services on Moniker’s website.
I agree with the court’s decision because it is essential to be able to protect their brand and trademarks, which is what the Yankees are doing here by trying to stop Moniker from using a domain name that includes their trademarked name. If a company does not protect its trademark and brand, it can lose control over how people use its products or services. I also agree with this decision because it violated the ICANN policy (Lee, 2020). The court’s decision was well-reasoned and well-supported by facts provided by both sides.
I believe that Moniker knew it was violating the baseball team’s trademark when it registered this domain name but hoped to get away with it anyway. Because it believed that no one would notice or care about a third-party commercial website selling tickets and merchandise without permission from the Yankees (Lee, 2020). However, Moniker did not consider that many people love baseball as much as they do. Therefore, she never though that people would report this kind of infringement if they see it happening on an internet platform like Facebook or Instagram, where they often share their opinions on their favorite sports teams or athletes.
Lee, I. (2020). The Uniform domain name dispute resolution policy (UDRP): Not quite an arbitration, but satisfying. In Research handbook on intellectual property and digital technologies. Edward Elgar Publishing.