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Trivial Pursuit loses 'utterly trivial' domain name pursuit

Discussion in 'Domain Name News' started by admin, Jun 14, 2005.

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    Jun 2004
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    A popular board game is not the only trivial pursuit worthy of the domain name, according to an arbitration panellist who refused to take it away from an individual who said he registered it to lament life's loss of individual creativity.

    In 1979, Montreal buddies Scott Abbott and Chris Haney came up with the idea for Trivial Pursuit, the board game, apparently during a game of Scrabble. Horn Abbott was founded the following year and the game has sold over 70 million units since. Abbott and Haney became very wealthy indeed.

    The company is registered in Barbados and owns various trade marks and domain names – but not, which was registered by Ian McMillan of Brighton, England, in 2002. When its solicitors' warning letter was rejected by McMillan, Horn Abbott filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), demanding that he had no right to the name and that it should be transferred.

    But McMillan told the WIPO panellist:

    “I purchased the name with a view to creating a website dealing with the 21st Century’s unique trivial pursuits, specifically the fact that most aspects of life now involve a commodity as opposed to individual creativity, from sex to salvation via surgery and sweeteners.”

    He added, "there are more trivial pursuits than can be counted. There is but one game and appropriately, a singular version of the common expression has been adapted to fit it."

    The web site is just one page at present, with a mention of the WIPO case – which McMillan describes as "a fine example of a quite unnecessary and utterly trivial pursuit," adding that more content will be added, "but at the convenience of my lazy nature."

    The panellist decided that bad faith by McMillan had not been proved, explaining:

    “The main reason for that is that, unlike made-up names like Telstra, the expression 'trivial pursuits' is a descriptive expression which appears to be in wide use in the English speaking world, in senses which are unrelated to the Complainant and its activities.”

    He accepted Google search results from McMillan which demonstrated widespread uses of 'trivial pursuits,' at least in its plural form, beyond the board game.

    Horn Abbott argued that McMillan's "failure to use a domain name for over two and a half years is sufficient to rebut any argument that [he] has been engaged in preparations to use the domain name." But the panellist disagreed.

    The panellist stressed that he could not dismiss McMillan's stated intention as being clearly false, "in particular when taking into account the descriptive character of the disputed domain name.”

    Accordingly, panellist Warwick Smith refused to transfer the domain.

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