The Domain name at issue is manulife-denial.ca. The parties are well known to each other as the Complainant successfully brought a previous CDRP (manulifedenial.ca) and UDRP proceeding. Further, the Registrant previously acted as in-house counsel for the Complainant from 2002 – 2012. The Registrant registered the Domain Name in April, 2016, and Manulife asserts rights in the MANULIFE trademark for over 125 years.
The Registrant argues that it has a legitimate interest in the Domain Name because it acts on behalf of individuals with lawsuits against Manulife. The Panel found that the first impression of the name manulife in the context of consumers looking at the domain name is (1) simply a reference to Manulife and being used as names are ordinarily used and (2) everyone has the right to use others’ names for that purpose. Despite numerous cases on this point (including the previous CDRP case relating to this domain, this trademark and these parties), the Panel found that the rights given to trademark owners do not extend to control everything that is said or done by others in reference to their trade marks and trade names.
The Panel dismissed the Complaint which can be found here.