Texas Trademark Lawyer Tamera Bennett

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Texassports.org: University of Texas Lost Bad Faith UDRP Action

The University of Texas was unsuccessful in a bad faith domain name action to acquire www.texassports.org. The University is the owner of www.texassports.com and registered trademarks for:  TEXAS, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, TEXAS LONGHORNS, and LONGHORNS.  In particular, TEXAS is registered for "Entertainment services, namely, providing college athletic and sporting events."

In the UDRP action, the University asserted www.texassports.org was registered in bad faith, that the registrant had no legitimate rights to the name, and the use of the domain may cause confusion with the University's www.texassports.com domain.  The domain www.texassports.org was used as  "parking" website for information related to University of Texas sports and sporting events.

To be successful the University needed to prove:

the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The UDRP panel found www.texassports.org defense persuasive:

"Texas sports" is geographically descriptive and not protected by trademark.  The University does not have the exclusive rights to "Texas" and "Sports."  The University does not have a registered trademark for "Texas Sports."  There is no likelihood of consumer confusion.

The University did not prove "bad faith."  Again, common, geographic terms are not typically going to rise to the level of a bad faith acquisition.

More about the UDRP decision may be found here.