Tinder swipes left on domain fraudster

Dating app ‘Tinder’ is owned and operated by Tinder Inc, a company based in Texas. Since its inception in 2012, the dating app has become a global phenomenon, boasting an estimated 50 million users.

Tinder Inc owns the trade mark ‘Tinder’ in almost all major jurisdictions. It also owns numerous domain names, including ‘gotinder.com’.

Gandi SAS, a company of unknown origin, acquired the domain ‘tinderonline.nl’ in 2015, attracting users to its website under the pretence it was associated with Tinder Inc. The website’s home page displayed a stylised Tinder logo, alongside provocative photographs of ‘purported users’.

Tinder Inc applied to the World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO) for an order that the domain ‘tinderonline.nl’ be transferred into Tinder Inc’s name.[1]

Dispute resolution policy 

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy outlines the relevant rules for resolving domain name disputes.

Disputes are heard by accredited dispute resolution organisations, removing the need for court intervention.

In order for a complainant to be awarded a domain name transfer, the following must be established:

  1. that the domain is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark…in which the complainant has rights;
  2. that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name; and
  3. that the domain name has been registered in bad faith.


WIPO found in Tinder Inc’s favour, authorising the transfer of ‘tinderonline.nl’ from Gandi SAS to Tinder Inc.

WIPO’s reasons for the decision stipulated that:

  1. Tinder Inc, by way of their registered trade marks and domains, held rights in the name ‘Tinder’;
  2. Use of the word ‘tinder’ in the domain ‘tinderonline.nl’ was deceptively similar to Tinder Inc’s trade mark;
  3. Gandi SAS was not commonly known as ‘tinderonline’, nor had acquired any trade mark or alternative right in the name ‘tinderonline’; and
  4. Gandi SAS had intentionally used Tinder Inc’s name and reputation to deceive consumers and, therefore, had acted in bad faith.

Lavan Comment

Domain names are important assets; like real property, there is only one ‘tinderonline.nl’. Disputes over domains are commonplace, causing headaches for both new and established organisations. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy allows parties to resolve disputes quickly and cost effectively, without court intervention.

Parties are likely to find greater success when referring disputes to WIPO where steps have been taken to register and protect trade marks.

If you need advice regarding a domain name dispute, or are looking to protect your trade marks, do not hesitate to contact us.












Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.