Page for Invent-Tech or Invent Tech
Note: Not to be confused with Inventech which was the first to use this name.
We have no concerns about Inventech.
Claim Number: FA0607000758833
Complainant is Invention Technologies, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Gary W Pollack, One S.E. 3rd Street, Suite 1260, Miami, FL 33131. Respondent is Alliance for American Innovation c/o Ron Riley (“Respondent”), 1323 W. Cook Rd., Grand Blanc, MI 48439, USA.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAMES
The undersigned Daniel B. Banks, Jr., as panelist, certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on July 26, 2006; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on July 31, 2006.
On July 27, 2006, Enom, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <inventtech.net> and <inventtech.info> domain names are registered with Enom, Inc. and that the Respondent is the current registrant of the names. Enom, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Enom, Inc. registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On August 4, 2006, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of August 24, 2006 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to postmaster @inventtech.net and postmaster @inventtech.info by e-mail.
A timely Response was received and determined to be complete on September 5, 2006.
On September 12, 2006, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Daniel B. Banks, Jr. as Panelist.
Complainant requests that the domain names be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Complainant has used and continues to use the service mark “Invent-Tech,” which is assigned Registration Number 2,911,254 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on December 14, 2004. Its first use in commerce was on January 1, 1997. Complainant is generally known and advertises itself as Invent-Tech but is also known by the unhyphenated name Invent Tech. Complainant also has registered and active websites at <invent-tech.net>, <invent-tech.com>, <invent-tech.org>, <invent-tech.biz>, <invent-tech.info>, <invent-tech.us>, <invent-tech.cc>, <invent-tech.tv> and at <inventtech.org>. For nearly ten years, Complainant has advertised heavily on national television, radio, in print, and on the Internet. It has exhibited at dozens of major international trade show events, holds many corporate memberships and references and has carefully cultivated the Invent-Tech mark domestically and worldwide.
Respondent, through the domain names <inventtech.net> and <inventtech.info> is using a mark which is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered service mark. The banner at the top of Respondent’s infringing web page clearly states, “Special Page for Invent-Tech or Invent Tech.” Thus, Respondent concedes that Invent-Tech is generally known as Invent Tech.
Respondent has no legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain names. It has no intellectual property rights or trademark/service mark rights in the name. The disputed domain names do not convey that they are in any way associated with Respondent, Alliance for American Innovation. Respondent has never been commonly known by the domain names and has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights in the names. It has never made a prior use of the domain names in connection with the bona fide offering of any goods or services.
Respondent has not and is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain names. Upon browsing to either <invent-tech.net> or <inventtech.info>, a user is redirected to a web page that, under the guise of informing users of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999, contains a hyperlink to the website of Washington, DC intellectual property law firm of Wenderoth, Lind & Ponack, LLP (a for profit LLP). The webpage also contains a link to another intellectual property law firm in upstate New York under the guise of “another information source”: Brown & Michaels, PC (a for profit professional corporation). Underneath a title in large font for Brown & Michaels, beside a banner providing links for Brown & Michaels services, and printed above all relevant information for Brown & Michaels, this website contains information disparaging many companies including the Complainant. While cautioning the user against the services of the Complainant, it also advertises the use of The Innovation Institute, another company that competes with Complainant. Therefore, Respondent’s use cannot be noncommercial due to its advertising for other for profit entities. By connecting its website to the commercial operations of others, Respondent is using the infringing domain names in connection with an offering of goods or services.
The disputed domain names have been registered and used in bad faith by diverting customers to a website that could harm the goodwill of the marks and through posting hyperlinks to competitors of Invent-Tech using the infringing domain names. Originally, the domain name <invent-tech.net>was registered by the Washington, DC law firm Greenberg & Lieberman, LLC. After Complainant informed them of its infringing use, the law firm offered, in bad faith, to sell this infringing domain name to Complainant for “a couple thousand dollars.” After Complainant refused to purchase, Greenberg & Lieberman “donated” the domain to the Respondent. Respondent is currently using this domain name to redirect users to its own web page devoted to disparaging Complainant in an attempt to divert potential and current customers from using the services of Complainant while at the same time advertising the services of other competitors in the same field of business. Thus, the collusion of the Respondent and Greenberg & Lieberman to extort the payment of “a couple thousand dollars” from Complainant shows the bad faith of the Respondent to financially gain from said domain name.
Alliance for American Innovation was founded by Ronald J. Riley who is a well known advocate representing the interests of individual and small business inventors. InventorEd Inc. is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to turn aspiring inventors into entrepreneurs. The Alliance for American Innovation exists as a vehicle to educate policy makers. The Professional Inventors Alliance is a trade association of commercially successful inventors. Collectively, our mission is to create jobs and tax base via inventors and their inventions. None of the organizations sell any products or services. All are operated on business models similar to Consumers Union and Public Citizen and are totally dependent on donations for operating revenue. We select links based solely by the merits of the material contained on the linked page. We have no paid advertising and routinely turn down requests to host such material.
Invention promotional fraud is an annual four to five hundred million dollar and growing industry which we fight via all three of the referenced entities. At best, invention promotion services such as those offered by Invent-Tech are useless and at worse they are outright frauds. InventorEd takes the lead in collecting information about companies who aggressively market invention promotion services. We publish compiled information on the web at www.InventorEd.org/caution via a number of lists from the watch list to the extreme caution list.
The most egregious companies are given mini-sections within the caution section. Complainant has long had a mini-section devoted to the dissemination of information about their activities. Complainant tries to characterize the linked material on patent practitioner’s web sites as an attempt to divert business to those web sites. But the fact of the matter is that they also acknowledge that those linked pages contained warnings to consumers about Invent-Tech by patent practitioners who are by law credentialed experts on patent related matters while Complainant clearly lacks the benefit of such expertise.
Invent Tech is a weak mark because it was in use as Inventech long before they adopted the name. It is also weak because it is descriptive. Complainant claims that the domain names have been registered in bad faith yet they fail to disclose our letter to them dated 6-5-06 which clearly stated that the domains had been donated to us and our intent to use those domains to criticize the Complainants business practices. Greenberg & Lieberman, the previous domain holders, donated the referenced domains to us specifically so that those domains could be used to link to our caution section. We do not see such donations as being in bad faith. We are a nonprofit who seeks to educate inventors and help them avoid a multitude of pitfalls which cause many inventors to fail. Complainant must show both bad faith registration and use. It has not offered any evidence to support either element. It is unknown why Greenberg & Lieberman originally registered the domain names more than two years age however, since they are a law firm which specializes in patent law, it is likely that they were using the name for its common meaning of invention technology. InventorED accepted the gift of the domains for the purpose of showing more people the truth about Complainant and their acts. The domains all point to the section of the website that is a protest against Complainant. The use of a domain name as a protest site has long been accepted as a good faith use, especially where the site was limited to the criticism of the complainant as in this case. It is impossible for anyone to be confused by the domain as the webpage specifically identifies that it is an inventor promoter caution list and that the page is specially designed to speak about Complainant and their horrific acts of alleged fraud toward the public.
1 – The disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s service mark.
2 – The Respondent has demonstrated rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
3 – The disputed domain names were not registered or used in bad faith.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”) instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Respondent does not dispute that Complainant holds a USPTO registration of the INVENT-TECH mark nor does Respondent dispute that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark
The panel finds that Respondent has demonstrated rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names by using them in connection with a complaint website. Respondent refutes Complainant’s assertion that the links to law firms are advertisements, stating that it has received no payment for posting the links and that the links are part of Respondent’s mission to protect inventors from scams and fraud. Respondent concedes that it is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, but asserts that the use of the disputed domain names is necessary in connection with the content of its website, which includes a critique of Complainant’s business practices. The panel finds that the use of the disputed domain names to link to a complaint website is a legitimate use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). For example, in Bridgestone Firestone, Inc. v. Myers, D2000-0190 (WIPO July 6, 2000), the panel found that the respondent had free speech rights and legitimate First Amendment interests in the domain name <bridgestone-firestone.net> where the respondent linked the domain name to a “complaint” website about the Complainant’s products. Similarly, in Legal & Gen. Group Plc v. Image Plus, D2002-1019 (WIPO Dec. 30, 2002), the panel held that, “[T]he goals of the Policy are limited and do not extend to insulating trademark holders from contrary and critical views when such views are legitimately expressed without an intention for commercial gain.” Further, the panel in, N. Am. Wilderness Recovery, Inc. v. Citizens With Common Sense, FA 97058 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 1, 2001), argued that, complaint sites using a complainant’s mark may be fair use under certain circumstances, for example, the use of a noncommercial suffix such as ‘.org’ or ‘.net’ may be sufficient to differentiate when criticizing a commercial enterprise. The Panel finds that Respondent is using the disputed domain names as contemplated by Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii) in connection with a legitimate noncommercial or fair use by operating a complaint website.
Respondent reiterates that it is using the disputed domain names in connection with a legitimate complaint website and thus, has not acted in bad faith. Respondent further asserts that it alerted Complainant of its intention to use the disputed domain names in connection with a website criticizing Complainant and that this domain name dispute was brought only after that notification. The panel finds that the use of the disputed domain names is in good faith and not in violation of Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). Specifically, even if the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, the content of Respondent’s website is such that Internet users should not be confused as to the source or affiliation of that content, and that content has sufficient value that it should be allowed to persist. The panel in Legal & Gen. Group Plc v. Image Plus, D2002-1019 (WIPO Dec. 30, 2002), found that initial interest confusion was displaced by the criticism content at the respondent's website and that such a "low level of confusion is . . . a price worth paying to preserve the free exchange of ideas via the Internet." In Elm Grove Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Inc. v. Schedule Star, FA 352423 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 27, 2004), the panel came to a similar conclusion, finding no bad faith registration or use where the respondent “only registered the disputed domain names to voice concerns and complaints about Complainant” and “[n]o one reading the web site would be confused as to sponsorship.” The Panel finds that Respondent is using the disputed domain names in connection with a complaint website that is a legitimate exercise of free speech, and is not evidence of bad faith registration or use pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(b)(iii) or (iv).
As Complainant has not established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be DENIED.
Daniel B. Banks, Jr., Panelist
Dated: September 25, 2006
National Arbitration Forum
The disputed domains were:
Please Notify Us Of Any Errors Of Fact
Below you will find links to explore Invent-Tech in
1/. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION COMPLAINTS UNDER FREEDOM OF INFO ACT: www.ftc.gov/foia/frequentrequest.htm
2/. PATENT OFFICE COMPLAINTS:
3/. COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST INVENTORS COMPLAINING ABOUT INVENT-TECH, ETC: www.miami-dadeclerk.com/civil
Once at the site, select: (1) Standard Case Search then (2) type Invention Technologies in the "Party Name."
I strongly advise you to become familiar with the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 as found at: www.wenderoth.com/statute.htm
Run cursor down to: SEC. 4102. INTEGRITY IN INVENTION PROMOTION
SERVICES. If you can get them to give you their stats as mandated by
federal law per the question you should be asking them on the above
link, I believe you may find the answer to your question.
MARKETING IDEAS CAN BE COSTLY:
PAYING FOR A PROMISE
SLAPP LAWSUITS ("Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation"): www.inventored.org/SLAPP
Read what some Invent Tech clients have to say. Invent Tech Clients
Read the Caution Flags List at http://www.InventorEd.org/flaglist/ .
Another information source is: Invention Marketing Companies .
$10,000 to $20,000 Wasted money
Source FTC Jodie Bernstein