The company Liebherr-International AG with the headquarter in Switzerland, has filed a complaint with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) demanding the transfer of the mistyped domain libherr.com. The domain was already registered by a third party on October 14th, 2004 and, according to the complainant, was last changed to the current domain owner on November 6th, 2018.
The complainant was founded in 1949 by Hans Liebherr and now consists of various companies with more than 40,000 employees worldwide. It is one of the world's largest manufacturers of construction machinery and, with its various group companies, is active in other sectors such as refrigeration and freezing, mining, aerospace and others. It is in possession of various registered trademarks "liebherr" worldwide. Domains such as liebherr.com, liebherr.de or mistyped domains such as libher.com or liebher.de are part of the company's own portfolio. Domains with company names and offers such as liebherr-crane-selection.com and liebherr-cooling.com are also included. In her complaint, the complainant alleges that the disputed domain name libherr.com is confusingly similar to her registered trademarks, that the respondent has no rights or a legitimate interest in this domain and that he has maliciously registered and used the domain. As so often in such cases, the respondent did not reply to the WIPO request.
The difference between the trademark and the domain is the missing letter "e". The WIPO committee in this complaint agrees with the opinion of past proceedings that a missing letter as an obvious typo is not sufficient for a distinction. Therefore, the committee agrees that the domain is confusingly similar to the protected trademark. The respondent has also created the impression that there are no rights or a legitimate interest in this name and that the respondent is misusing the domain for advertising links. There is no response from the defendant, so WIPO agrees to the appearance. Furthermore, on the basis of the evidence provided, the panel finds that the respondent has maliciously registered and used the domain. Again, there is no statement by the respondent. Based on these findings, WIPO decides that the domain is to be transferred to the complainant.
The complete and detailed decision D2019-0360 can be found on the WIPO website. At the current time (04/17/2019), the domain has not yet been transferred to the complainant.
This incident shows once again how important it is to regularly check the complete domain portfolio. In order to avoid loss of reputation and to save costs, time and nerves for a complaint procedure, other spellings should also be checked. Each company must decide for itself which top-level domains (TLDs) are in focus and which are not. Registering all spellings with all TLDs can be a very costly solution, at least the most important TLDs for internationally operating companies with different spellings should be registered for protection in any case.
Sources: wipo.int, verisign.com