Towers on the Park

Towers on the Park Condominium v. Paul Adao, Case No. D2012-1054 (WIPO July 12, 2012).

Dan Booth protected a blogger’s free-speech rights and prevailed in a dispute over a website domain name. Paul Adao owns an apartment in the Towers on the Park condominium in Manhattan. Since 2010, at his website, he has discussed issues of concern to the condominium owners, often critical of its governing board. Some board members objected to the website’s content, and filed a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) complaint to have the domain name transferred. We persuaded the UDRP Panelist that the complaint failed to prove any of the elements required: the condo board had no trademark rights in the domain name; Mr. Adao has a legitimate, First Amendment right to use the domain name for his website (a “gripe site,” in UDRP and trademark terms); and his site, with a prominent disclaimer, was not using the name in bad faith. The panelist readily found that the dispute really concerned the building’s internal political squabbles, not cybersquatting, so it did not justify stripping his domain name.