MS Dhoni and Rhiti Sports win a legal dispute concerning a domain name

MS Dhoni and his management group Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited have won a case for ownership of the website domain after the arbitration body ruled in their favour. The site registered in the Indian skipper’s name was allegedly used by persons who had no legitimate rights to it.

The above mentioned domain was originally registered on October 31, 2005 with Wild West Domains, LLC and USA’s David Hanley has been the registrant on or before February, 2014. However, the latest development is they have secured the website after a decision made by the WIPO Mediation and Arbitration Center at Geneva.

The Rhiti Sports management related Scriboard has registered a complaint about the issue at the WIPO Mediation and Arbitration Center on August 19, 2016 after which the registrant has offered to sell the website for $1500.

Scriboard, in the complaint file, contended that “the Disputed Domain Name is identical to the MS DHONI trademark and the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name”.

They also stated in the complaint that ” “The Respondent uses the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith as the website to which the Disputed Domain Name resolved made use of the Complainants’ MS DHONI trademark in order to raise advertising revenue through the use of sponsored or ‘click through’ links”.

After Scriboard filed the complaint, the respondent didn’t give any formal response, following which the panel found out that the respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The respondent did not file a formal response to the complainant’s contentions and accordingly the panel found that the respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The penal concluded the registration and use of the domain was in bad faith as the respondent had engaged in a pattern of registering domain names corresponding to the names of famous persons which provides further evidence of bad faith.

Finally the panel also noted that the respondent’s offer to sell the disputed domain name to the complainants for USD 1,500 was further evidence of bad faith.

In a press release issued by Mr. Ryder, he mentioned that it was ‘imperative to secure this important and valuable digital asset’. He added, “the securing of the domain name is an important part of the overall brand strategy. There is a serious potential of misuse. This case, from the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, Geneva, is an important global trademark precedent for the already famous and well-known brand, MS Dhoni.”

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