Carlos Santana Wins Domain Name From Typosquatter

An international arbitrator has sided with musician Carlos Santana in his dispute with the alleged typosquatter behind the site carlosantana.com. The World Intellectual Property Organization's Arbitration and Mediation Center ruled recently that the singer was entitled to acquire the domain name -- which is the same as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member's full name, except with only one “s.”

“Internet users searching for the complainant’s official Carlos Santana webpage, who understandably forget or omit to type the second 's' between “carlos” and “santana,” are re-directed to the respondent’s Web site featuring third-party sponsored advertisements,” the arbitrator said in a written decision quietly issued late last month.

The decision resolves a complaint filed in July by Santana Tesoro (the singer's company) against PPA Media Services of Santiago, Chile. The musician -- who has put out records for more than 40 years, and also sold shoes and other merchandise under the name “Carlos by Carlos Santana” for 13 years -- alleged that PPA Media created the typosquatting site Carlosantana.com in 2009.

Santana said that PPA Media used the page “to misdirect Internet visitors to Web sites offering competing products and services with the apparent intention of earning click-through revenue,” according to the opinion.

The arbitrator said in the opinion that PPA Media “registered the disputed domain name with the sole intention of misleading Internet visitors and complainant’s potential customers by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s trademarks.”

The arbitrator ruled that the typosquatting site should be transferred to the Grammy-winning musician as soon as possible. As of Wednesday, the site still appeared to be registered to PPA Media. The site also contained links to pages that were populated with ads for ecommerce sites.

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