Bill Gates’ investment firm loses cybersquatting case

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Company didn’t show that it had trademark rights in Cascade Investment.

Bill Gates’ investment firm, Cascade Investment, L.L.C., has lost a cybersquatting complaint it filed against CascadeInvestment.us.

The domain name owner didn’t respond, but Cascade failed to convince the panelist of the first prong of the policy: that the domain is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.

In this case, panelist David Einhorn noted that Cascade didn’t provide any evidence that it had common law trademark rights in Cascade Investment. He wrote:

…the documentary evidence provided by Complainant in support of this allegation shows use of this term as a trade name, not as a trademark.

It’s not clear what the Complainant submitted to the panel, but it might have just been a corporate registration rather than showing the name used as a trademark. Trade names are different than trademarks. And panelists want Complainants to put effort into proving common law trademark rights when they don’t have a registered trademark.

Einhorn noted that this is not a determination whether the Complainant may be able to obtain relief in court.

Perkins Coie LLP represented Cascade Investment.

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