Geneva
09 August 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

GOT MILK? Not anymore, says WIPO


The California Milk Processor Board, creator of the ‘GOT MILK?’ slogan, has claimed gotsomemilk.com in a UDRP dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center.

‘GOT MILK?’ was used in iconic television commercials since 1993 and in 2005 was named “one of the most culturally influential taglines since the advent of television”, according to the WIPO panel ruling on the UDRP dispute.

On top of that, the panel highlighted the fact that numerous WIPO panels have held that the California Milk Processor Board has rights in the ‘GOT MILK?’ trademark.

Martha Vaughn, who previously held the domain, argued that the words ‘got’ and ‘milk’ are commonly used and that she was “exercising her freedom of speech and basic human rights by using these words as part of her domain name”.

She said she had not made any money on the pay-per-click links that appear on the website that domain resolved to and that she has done everything in good faith.

Vaughn alleged that she had legitimate interest in the domain because she has been “working very hard to help the homeless and less fortunate by branding my marketing company and creating well over six thousand domain names”.

The panel, however, disagreed, ruling that this “does not demonstrate that [Vaughn] has rights or legitimate interests with respect to use of this domain name”.

With regards to the other domains, including gotpeachmilk.com and gotcerealmilks.net, the panel said this reflected a pattern of bad faith.

“The panel finds that [Vaughn] has used the disputed domain name to intentionally attempt to attract for commercial gain, internet users to her website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of her web site or location or of a product or service on her web site or location.”

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