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Accio, domain name! Harry Potter movie studio fails to get Dumbledore domain

“Accio Domain Name!” apparently doesn’t work.

Still of Dumbledore from a Harry Potter Film

Is there a spell for getting domain names? (Still from a Harry Potter movie.)

Warner Bros. Entertainment has failed to conjure up enough magic to get the domain name through a cybersquatting complaint.

The studio filed a complaint with National Arbitration Forum to get the domain name, the namesake of the lovable Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series.

It ran into two problems when it tried to argue that the owner of the domain is cybersquatting.

First, Dumbledore is an old dictionary word. J.K. Rowling mentioned that his name was based on this old word.

Second, the owner of the domain hadn’t done anything with the domain when the dispute was filed, so Warner Bros. couldn’t show bad faith given the dictionary meaning of the word.

Gerald Levine, the man who literally “wrote the book on UDRP“, was the panelist.

Levine wrote:

The disputed domain name is a dictionary word that by happenstance corresponds to one of the words in Complainant’s trademark. Complainant does not have a trademark for the word “dumbledore” standing alone. It may be that aficionados steeped in Harry Potter lore will instantly associate “dumbledore” with the fictional character, and possibly with the trademark owner, but that is not enough to grant Complainant a monopoly on a word that has meanings beyond that conveyed by the mark. A dictionary word domain name that corresponds to a word in a trademark is not presumptively abusive of third-party rights. Use alone will determine the outcome of rights. If Respondent is found to be using the domain name in bad faith it will support registration in bad faith, but there can be no abusive registration without proof of use in bad faith.


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Author: Andrew Allemann

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