What a circus! Circus.com court challenge denied
Gambling company fails (again) to get circus.com.
The owner of Circus.com has successfully defended its domain for a second time.
Online gambling company Circus Belgium SA first tried to obtain the valuable domain name through a UDRP in 2016. It failed and was found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking.
Several years later, the company filed a case in Liege Business Court in Liege, Belgium (“Tribunal de l’entreprise de Liege”). But that court was unmoved by Circus Belgium’s claims, and ruled in favor of Circus.com owner Online Guru Inc (pdf).
In a nutshell, based on my reading of a Google Translate of the decision, the court believes that there’s no conflict between a site using circus.com for content about circuses and a gambling company using the same name:
It would be moreover, very difficult to demonstrate the alteration of the economic behavior of the consumer means that would type this domain name into its search engine. If it is a consumer who is looking for information on circus-related activities, he will consult the site to see if he finds what what he is looking for.
If it is a consumer who believes that by typing “circus.com” he will come across a site relating to games of chance and online casinos of CIRCUS, he will quickly understand that this site has nothing to do with the activities offered by CIRCUS and its economic behavior will in no way be altered since the blog to which the domain name “circus.com”
gives access is in no way a competing site likely to divert the consumer from CIRCUS to the benefit of another economic operator games of chance and online casinos or a site that offers alternatives to the products and services of CIRCUS.
Attorney Bart Lieben represented Online Guru in the lawsuit. John Berryhill represented the company in the 2016 UDRP defense.
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