March 20, 2004
What's Your Name?
by Jeremy Blachman
March 20, 2004 12:26 AM
The New York Times Magazine has an article about domain disputes -- should the premier Indian business empire run by Ratan Tata (Tata Steel, Tata Engineering, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Finance, Tata Telecom, Tata Tea and more) have a right to Bodacious-Tatas.com? Find out by reading the article. If only each of us had had the foresight to buy up all sorts of domains that companies might now pay us lots of money for. Too bad.
There is a term in Trademark law known as "initial interest confusion." In other words, if people were to go to Bodacious-Tatas.com thinking it had something to do with Ratan Tata, and then realized it was instead a porn site, Ratan Tata would still have a cause of action based up "initial interest confusion." Other than that possibility, I don't think too many people would be confused as to the source of these very different products.
That, and I just think the name Bodacious-Tatas is very funny and whoever came up with it should be allowed to keep the domain name. :)
The article is wrong to call GOOGLE a coinage "verging on nonsense"; it is a deliberate misspelling of googol (10 to the 100th power) that is implies one will get a large number of results from a search on the engine.
The word NIKE is thought by analysts to be worth $7 billion; COCA-COLA is valued at 10 times as much.
True only for products that people would want to buy from these companies. NIKE tulip bulbs wouldn't be worth much, nor would COCA-COLA pacemakers.
As for the TATAS dispute, WIPO probably ruled incorrectly even by their own measure.
The domain-name holder must be using the name in "bad faith." This crucial term is not well defined. In practice, any attempt to get money for the domain name constitutes prima facie evidence of bad faith.
I would assume that the porn site was set up in good faith, with the sole intent to show bodacious tatas to the interested public, and not with the intent to embarrass Tata Industries into forking over lakhs to buy the site. Frankly, among most people who would think to type in "bodacious tatas" (with the exception of horny South Asian engineers), the Tata family of Bombay cannot possibly be well known.