Incorporating the phrase “official site” may increase confusion under the UDRP

A WIPO UDRP Panel in L’Oreal, Laboratoire Garnier & Compagnie v. Australian Internet Investments Pty Ltd. (D2008-1640) recently ruled found that the phrase “officialsite” in a domain name may increase the likelihood of confusion.

The Panel’s reasoning was that the phrase “officialsite” implies that the domain name belongs to the trade-mark owner or is registered with the brand owner’s permission.

The disputed domain names in the L’Oreal case were, and

The Panel’s decision makes sense, and is consistent with previous UDRP decisions, specifically those in which the adjudicators ruled that:

  1. the addition of non-distinctive, descriptive or generic words in a domain name does not change the overall impression of a mark; and
  2. the use of generic words descriptive of the trade-mark owner’s business will only increase the likelihood of confusion between the domain name at issue and the trade-mark owner.

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