Is the real Shangri-la a hotel chain?
Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
632Trip End Dec 31, 2011
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Having stayed at two Shangri-la hotels in Asia - both with excellent service, fantastic views, comfortable large rooms and nice takehome bath robes - I've got to say that for a traveler, the Shangri-la group hotels are some kind of paradise.
But what's in a name?
A lot, it seems if you are trying to keep that Shangri-la domain name:
How does the WIPO panel treat trademarks that consist of words or phrases that are used in ways unrelated to the complainant?
In a case of Shangri-La International Hotel Management Limited v. NetIncome Ventures Inc. (WIPO Case No. D2006-1315), the domain name in question was "shangrila.com." The complainant owned the registered trademark "SHANGRI-LA" with respect to hotel services and objected to the respondent's use of the disputed domain name. However, the respondent contended that the term "Shangri-la" does not refer exclusively to the famous hotel chain. Rather, this term was created by the author James Hilton in the legendary novel "Lost Horizon." Since the word's coining by the above author, the respondent argued, the term has been used in a variety of contexts to mean "an imaginary paradise on earth."
Nevertheless, the panel rejected the respondent's arguments based on factors that showed that respondent did not have a legitimate interest on the disputed domain name, and that he did not register the domain name in good faith. In particular, the respondent was found to have a pattern of registering domain names for future resale. Although no direct evidence existed that the respondent intended to sell the registered domain name in this case, there was evidence that the respondent had entered into "arrangements with Google and Yahoo/Overture to share advertising revenue derived from use of the search term "shangrila," expecting that some revenue would flow from hotel-related advertisements. The panel stated that the respondent ought to have taken measures to exclude the term "hotel" as a search term in connection with the disputed domain name, and the fact that he did not do it, indicated that he registered the domain name with the intent to benefit from the complainant's commercial success.