When Paddy Bingo launched we were one of the first to mention the similarity in the names between it and Irish Giants Paddy Power. Paddy Power has been using the brand name, first as a chain of independent bookmakers and later online since 1988, with Paddy Bingo registered far more recently. Now a court has ruled that the name is designed to cause confusion and Paddy Bingo must cease to use the name.
Paddy Bingo launched on the 15 Network last year, but the domain itself has been used for other bingo advertising sites too. Paddy Bingo quickly relaunched as Clover Bingo as this case was pending, and now a court has resounded that decision with their decision.
Paddy Power, the huge brand of Irish bookmakers had argued to the WIPO that the name ‘Paddy Bingo’ was deliberately chosen to cause confusion and registered in bad faith, holding huge similarities with their own brand. While Power is one of the founders’ surnames, Paddy is the generic often derogatory term for an Irish man, but with the word in wide circulation there were no guarantees as to how the case would go. The respondent denied having used the name in bad faith and referred back to the fact that the site was used as a bingo comparison site, and with several other domains also registered with huge similarities, they were intended as websites that offered a guide to bingo.
The panel has found that the four domains, paddybingo.com, paddybingomail.com, paddysbingo.com and paddyscasino.com are all in fact confusingly similar to the trademark names used by Paddy Power. The fact that the respondent was aware of the Paddy Power name when he registered the marks, and therefore has intentionally chosen to exploit the reputation of the bigger site.
The ruling is that the respondent must transfer all of the disputed domain names to Paddy Power with immediate effect and cease to be used for their current purposes.
There’s a lesson here in trying to take on the big guys. The Internet is becoming more and more regulated all the time, and we’re not at all surprised by the findings, having already mentioned the similarities in our initial review.
By: Kath Cross