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Just in time for Halloween, a Seattle Dispute Over Screams.com Domain Name

Excerpt of plaintiff’s Web site
accessible through the disputed screams.com domain name

Just in time for Oct. 31, there’s a spooky domain name dispute brewing right here in Seattle.

Last month, Happy Halloween, Inc., sued Screams, LLC, asking the Western District for a declaration that its registration of the screams.com domain name does not constitute cybersquatting or infringe Screams’ registration of SCREAMS as a trademark in connection with “amusement park services, namely, a Halloween theme park including haunted houses, haunted hayrides, drama exhibitions and amusements.”

Both parties offer “haunted house” services. Happy Halloween runs the “Cutting Edge Haunted House” in Ft. Worth, Texas. Screams operates the “Screams Halloween Theme Park” in Waxahachie, Texas, also near Dallas-Ft. Worth.

In July, a National Arbitration Forum panelist found in favor of Screams in a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy arbitration and ordered screams.com to be transferred to Screams.

Happy Halloween points the domain name to its Web site located at www.cuttingedgehauntedhouse.com. It argues that “screams” is generic and that it did not register screams.com in bad faith.

It also argues it registered the domain name on Jan. 22, 1997, so any conflicting rights Screams might have in the mark are barred by laches.

Happy Halloween filed in the Western District because it registered screams.com through Vancouver-based Dotster, Inc., which is located in this district.

Screams has not yet answered Happy Halloween’s complaint.

The case cite is Happy Halloween, Inc. v. Screams, LLC, No. 11-1513 (W.D. Wash.).

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