Is This Trademark Infringement Or Cybersquatting?

Is this trademark infringement or cybersquatting?

Confusing similarity might be a stretch.

Blue image with the letters UDRP

A World Intellectual Property (WIPO) panelist has found in favor of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, a generic drugs maker, in a dispute it filed against the domain DrLede.com. The pharmaceutical company uses the domain name DrReddy.com.

The Complainant in a UDRP needs to show that the domain in question is confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights. In this case, it’s a comparison of DrReddy vs. DrLede.

This seems like a stretch at first glance. They certainly aren’t visually similar. The argument here is that they are phonetically similar even though they aren’t visually similar. You could pronounce Led like lead (the element) with a long ‘e’ at the end. That sounds similar to Reddy.

It reminds me of the company that called (still calls?) new domain registrations and says they are with “GoWebby”, which sounds an awful lot like GoDaddy. They don’t look anything alike visually but certainly sound alike when someone quickly rattles off the name in a thick accent.

In this case, the respondent is clearly up to no good. He has a landing page that uses Dr. Reddy’s old logo and a login box. He didn’t respond to the dispute.

The panelist referred to section 1.15 of the WIPO overview, which lists examples of disputes in which panelists considered the usage of the domain when determining confusing similarity.

While this dispute strikes me as more of a trademark dispute than a cybersquatting dispute, it’s not surprising that the panelist took a small leap to find a way to award the domain to the Complainant.

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Author: Andrew Allemann

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