ESPN’s UDRP Complaint for NotSportsCenter.Com Fails

ESPN’s UDRP Complaint for NotSportsCenter.Com Fails

On June 6, 2017, ESPN filed a Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) complaint with the National Arbitration Forum against the owner of NotSportsCenter.Com.  As the owner of the registered trademark SPORTSCENTER (Reg. No. 1627702), ESPN sought to have the NotSportsCenter.Com domain name transferred to their possession.  Unfortunately for ESPN, they were unable to establish that the NotSportsCenter.Com domain name was being used in bad faith.

To succeed on an UDRP claim, the complainant must establish that the domain was registered in bad faith, evidence of which can include registering the domain primarily to sell it to the trademark owner; registered the domain in order to prevent the trademark owner from using it; registering the domain to disrupt the business of a competitor; or using the domain name for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the trademark owner’s mark.

The UDRP panel here found that no bad faith was present because NotSportsCenter.Com “does not attempt to disrupt [ESPN’s] business, as it offers parody material regarding sports, and does not purport to keep users from visiting [ESPN’s] website.”  Additionally, the UDRP panel found ESPN’s delay in bringing the complaint (six years after NotSportsCenter.Com was created) was material in denying the transfer as well.

Before jumping into a UDRP complaint to regain a domain you believe to be rightfully yours, be sure to consult with a Traverse Legal attorney first.  We can provide a preliminary assessment so that you can understand your chances of success — particularly whether bad faith exists — before you file a complaint.