Rooney gets back domain name

November 2006


England and Manchester United football star Wayne Rooney’s has been successful in his bid to have the domain name transferred to him. The registrant claimed that he obtained the domain name in 2002, after seeing the then sixteen-year old Rooney playing for Everton, being convinced of his potential, and then being motivated to obtain the domain name to set up a fan site which never eventuated. The Administrative Panel of the WIPO Mediation and Arbitration Centre ordered that the mark be transferred. The domain name was found to be identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark, even though Wayne Rooney only registered his trade mark after the domain name was registered, since trade marks registered after domain names can result in a finding of identical or confusing similarity under the UDRP (though it’s harder to find bad faith where the domain name predates the trade mark). The registrant’s supposed desire to set up a fan site did not give him a legitimate interest because this intention was not particularly believable. The panellist in particular highlights that the registrant had no programming experience at the time of registration and did nothing subsequently in order to acquire such skills. The domain name had been registered or used in bad faith, even though it pre-dated the trade mark registration since, at the time, Rooney had goodwill in the Liverpool areas. A couple of years ago Robbie Williams was also successful in getting back from another registrant – here the site was rather amusingly being used to house photographs of the band ‘Oasis’ who at the time had fallen out with the Robster.

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