SAN FRANCISCO – The National Arbitration Forum (search) said on Friday that Google Inc. (GOOG) has rights to the Internet domain names googkle.com, ghoogle.com, gfoogle.com and gooigle.com, which are similar to its own google.com domain.
The Web search leader filed a complaint with the NAF on May 11, claiming legal rights to Web addresses bearing a close resemblance to google.com, which it registered in late 1999.
Sergey Gridasov, of St. Petersburg, Russia, registered googkle.com, ghoogle.com, gfoogle.com and gooigle.com between December 2000 and January 2001 through Computer Services Langenbach GmbH, which did business as Joker.com. He did not respond to charges levied against him.
Because Gridasov failed to answer, the arbitrator was entitled to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences in the complaint from Google as true, unless the evidence was clearly contradictory.
The NAF arbitrator, Paul Dorf, found that Gridasov did not have legitimate rights to the Web addresses, and the Web addresses were confusingly similar to Google's trademark rights to its own name.
Further, the arbitrator found that Gridasov was using them in bad faith by presumably profiting from the use of domains.
Gridasov used his domain names to direct Internet users to Web sites that attempt to download viruses, Trojan horses and spyware to the users' computers. The domain names also carried links to various products unrelated to Google, the NAF said.
The NAF hears thousands of domain disputes each year under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (search) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (search), in a dispute process that is an alternative to trademark lawsuits