Minneapolis, MN, December 08, 2005 --(PR.com
)-- The National Arbitration Forum announced today that a ruling has been issued in favor of celebrity Will Smith regarding the rights to willsmith.tv.
Willard C. Smith II, represented by Allen B. Grodsky, filed a complaint electronically with the National Arbitration Forum on October 26, 2005, asserting legal rights to the domain name willsmith.tv. The address was registered by the Respondent, “Barney Rubble,” of Vancouver, British Columbia, on November 3, 2004. The panel found that the domain was being used to advertise products and services completely unrelated to Smith, including materials used in the cultivation of marijuana.
Ruling in Smith’s favor, a National Arbitration Forum arbitrator concluded that willsmith.tv was “confusingly similar” to the Will Smith mark, which Smith registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in February 2002. The arbitrator also found that the Respondent did not have legitimate rights to, or interest in, the disputed Web address, and was using the address in bad faith for his own commercial gain. Further reinforcing the bad faith finding was the fact that the Respondent had attempted to sell Smith the rights to the domain name.
The National Arbitration Forum administers more than 1,000 Internet domain disputes similar to that of the Will Smith dispute each year under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The domain name dispute process is a popular alternative to lengthy and expensive trademark lawsuits.
A copy of the decision, Willard C. Smith, II v Barney Rubble, is available for viewing on the National Arbitration Forum website at: http://www.arb-forum.com/domains/decisions/587480.htm.