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Atlas shrugs after movie UDRPs

Kevin Murphy, June 9, 2011, 11:17:33 (UTC), Domain Policy

The producers of a movie based on the cult novel Atlas Shrugged have become the latest recipients of conflicting Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy decisions.

In two recent WIPO decisions, both written by the same panelist, Atlas Productions won its complaint over atlasshruggedmovies.com (plural), but lost another over atlasshruggedmovie.com (singular).

The company released a movie adaptation of the 1957 Ayn Rand book in April, having secured the rights in 1992, but did not appear to have a registered trademark on the name.

The split decisions, both made by WIPO panelist Richard Lyon, rested largely on whether the company had secured, through its investment, common law rights to “Atlas Shrugged”.

In the atlasshruggedmovies.com case, the panelist decided on balance it had rights, and awarded the domain to Atlas without discussing whether the domain had been registered in bad faith.

The decision to allow atlasshruggedmovie.com to remain with the original registrant appears to be because it was registered in 2004, well before Atlas started promoting its movie, and because the respondent made a convincing case that he is a writer/director of spoof movies.

Lyon noted: “There is much to spoof in Atlas Shrugged the novel.”

The fact that the respondent was lawyered up (represented by the law firm Greenberg Traurig) probably helped matters also.

By contrast, the respondent in the atlasshruggedmovies.com sent WIPO an email that constituted the entirety of his defense:

I am the owner of ‘atlasshruggedmovies.com’

I have no motives to go into infringe on any copyrights.

I am in fact the rightful owner and am waiting the interested party to contact me and make a reasonable communications regarding the domain.

I am not permitting the transfer of this domain to any parties at this time.

Thanks for your considerations.

His domain was registered in 2009, around the same time Atlas started plugging its movie, so it was a more clear-cut case of cybersquatting.

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