San Diego – In a domain name dispute between the Cleveland Browns and an alleged cyber-squatter, the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) ordered that the domain name Browns.com be transferred from an Andrea Denise Dinoia to the Cleveland Browns.
The team filed a complaint in March alleging long standing rights to the CLEVELAND BROWNS and BROWNS trademarks and that the use of the Browns.com domain name by defendant was confusing the public. Perhaps not surprisingly, Ms. Diniola, who is a resident of Pineta, Italy, did not respond to the complaint. Prior to Ms. Dinoia, the domain name was registered to Gioaccino Zerbo who was using it to sell NFL merchandise. That was definitely an unwise move and pretty much sealed the fate of the domain name. Had the registrants used the domain name for a website related to the color brown, or had they not hosted a website there at all, they likely would have been able to retain ownership.
The team has not yet taken control of the domain name as the current www.browns.com website remains a one page site in Italian. In addition to finding that the respondents had no legitimate rights or interest in the domain name and that confusion among consumers was likely, WIPO held that the timing of the transfer of the domain name from Zerbo to Diniola was evidence of bad faith due to the impending legal action.
Even with the NFL strike in full swing, and the preseason not yet here, the Browns still found a way to get a win.