Ayn Rand’s renowned novel Atlas Shrugged has become famous around the world as an ode to the merits of a free market system. Last year, production began on a movie version of the first part of the novel. Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 opened in select theaters earlier this spring.
Shortly after the opening, Atlas Productions, a New Jersey company, filed for UDRP arbitration against the owner of the domain name AtlasShruggedMovie.com, claiming that it had acquired the exclusive movie rights to Atlas Shrugged by assignment in 1992. Unfortunately, the company, represented by Loeb & Loeb, LLP, never provided a copy of that assignment to the World Intellectual Property Organization Panelist who arbitrated the dispute. Moreover, it was unable to prove that the owner had registered the domain in bad faith; notably, the domain was registered more than five years before Atlas Productions began to promote the movie.
Ultimately, the WIPO Panelist denied the complaint. In his decision, he took the opportunity to take the Complainant to task, stating the following:
“Evidence, not allegations, is necessary. And nothing is more fundamental to a Policy proceeding – or more within a complainant’s control – than its right to enforce the trademark upon which it bases its case. If Complainant did acquire trademark rights by contract, documentary or other evidence of such rights was surely available to it. Absence of such evidence raises real doubt about Complainant’s entitlement to bring this proceeding.”
Whether you’re filing your first UDRP or your thousandth, it is crucial to make sure that you provide the proper evidence every single time. And if you want to acquire a domain name to which you don’t have trademark rights, the UDRP is not the proper tool to use.