07 July 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

WhatsApp recovers hackers domain

Messaging service WhatsApp has recovered an infringing domain name that pointed to a website offering hacking services.

In its UDRP complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center, which upheld its argument and ordered the domain to be transferred, WhatsApp said the hosted website gave users access to an online application that allowed them to hack legitimate WhatsApp accounts and gain access to their messages, photos and videos.

The website also redirected users to several pages containing advertising, meaning that the domain was being used for commercial gain.

Sole panellist John McElwaine ruled that the domain name was confusingly similar to the WhatsApp trademark, operated with no rights or legitimate interests and was registered in bad faith, taking advantage of the WhatsApp brand to generate revenue.

“The respondent’s use of the domain name is intended to take advantage of the fame and reputation of the WhatsApp mark in order to attract internet users to the respondent’s website which contains pages of advertising or pay-per-click links,” he said.

“In addition, the content of the website displayed at the domain name establishes that Respondent has targeted the complainant’s goodwill and reputation for the respondent’s pecuniary benefit.”

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