A family in Edinburgh has been the recipient of a WIPO domain name complaint as a result of their purchase of a Narnia domain name. Richard and Gillian Saville-Smith purchased the domain name narnia.mobi as a gift for their son so that he could use it as his email address. However, C.S. Lewis’ estate has filed a complaint using WIPO’s domain name dispute resolution mechanism (case D2008-0821).
The value of the domain name is quite evident, as Disney and C.S. Lewis Ltd will certainly be thinking of using it to further promote the popular franchise of Narnia books. Given WIPO’s well-documented track record to support the trade mark holder, I am guessing that the result of this dispute could be a foregone conclusion.
This story has internet meme written all over it. Corporate greedy interests, Disney, and unscrupulous estates plot together against hard-working family who want nothing more than to give their son a birthday gift. C.S. Lewis is “rolling in his grave” according to the family. I may surprise some people here, but I have to say that I do not have any sympathy for the parents in this case, even if they are from Edinburgh. Domain name law is clearly moving towards trade mark, and a domain name can be a valuable commodity. If that is the case, what sort of right can this family claim over the domain “narnia.mobi” other than the fact that they registered early? The C.S. Lewis estate holds the trade mark, so it is perfectly valid to assume that they would have a better claim over the domain name than a random family from Scotland.
I would like to own the domain “lordoftherings.com”, but it ain’t gonna happen, is it?