England and Man United footballer Wayne Rooney has won his domain namessake WayneRooney.com at WIPO, although the decision is yet another dodgy one in terms of the domain name rules.
Welsh actor and Everton fan Huw Marshall registered the name back in April 2002 when he saw Rooney in the youth team but never got around to building a website. When Rooney then did the unforgiveable and moved from Everton to archrivals Manchester United in August 2004, Marshall decided the treachery was such that he would sit on the domain and do nothing with it.
This left Rooney’s management with a bit of a problem. They sent Marshall a letter but he said he wasn’t interested. And then they called him up and he said no. This gave them the option of either trying to buy it off him for a big sum – and let’s be honest, a spurned Everton fan is not going to be cheap – or go to WIPO and hope the panelist finds some roundabout route to ignore all the UDRP rules and chose in the famous person’s favour. And guess what?
What is interesting though is that Rooney’s agent – through his company Stoneygate 48 – has no less than six trademarks on the boy. You can search for them here, including one for his signature and an obviously aborted attempted at branding Wayne as a “street striker”, complete with dodgy graphic. The trademark at play here was 002989051 – covering his name in just about ever media that exists.
Except of course he didn’t have the trademark when Marshall registered WayneRooney.com. Sole panelist Tony Willoughby managed to overlook that fact, deciding in his own mind that Marshall had only decided to register the name for profit – overlooking the fact that Marshall has never made a penny from the domain, or sought to. Willoughby then castigates Marshall for *not* putting up a website and then, just as a final flourush, uses his psychic abilities again to decide that if Marshall *had* put up a website, he doesn’t believe it would have been a non-commercial one.
It’s a classic UDRP stitch-up. I reckon Marshall could have the last laugh though by putting up an anti-Rooney site on WayneRooney.co.uk – which he also owns. Following Our Wayne’s poor form again this week in a friendly against Croatia, he could find he has quite a following.
I’ve done a story for The Register on it. Now I will sit back and watch every other media outlet take the story with no credit. Although of course, I myself have to credit George Kirikos who yet again made me aware of the judgement and beat me to it again. Although I beat him on TomCruise.com :-). Cheers George.