Australian Florist Wins Domain Name Dispute Against Binance

Francisco Memoria

An Australian florist going by Binancé has won a domain name dispute against leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, even though the exchange registered its trademark in the country nearly one year before the florist registered its domain name.

As first reported by Russian crypto news outlet Forklog, Binance was represented by Ashurst Australia and argued that the Binance trademark was registered in Australia on November 21, 2018, while the florist registered the Binance.com.au domain on October 27, 2019.

WIPO, the body that handles domain name disputes denied Binance’s complaint because the cryptocurrency exchange “has not discharged its onus of demonstrating the Respondent does not have rights or a legitimate interest in the disputed domain name.”

The organization did, however, point out there were several problems with Binancé’s claim as well. The florist’s director is Mr. Nawodycz, who runs a digital marketing firm and works at a firm called “World Bookings” as a “blockchain exchange researcher,/decentralized exchange researcher.” And has been involved in creating projects in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

Taking this into account, WIPO pointed out:

One might question why a digital marketing business might wish to diversify into a flower delivery business,” WIPO pointed out. “The Panel is mindful of the meme, ‘On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog’.

Nawodycz, in his defense, claimed that he selected the name Binancé because it supposedly means “balanced” in French, with “binancé flowers” meaning “paired flowers” in the language. The term was, however, added less than a week after Binance opened its dispute, and online translation tools don’t appear to show the term is, at least, widely used.

Binancé’s website is currently still holding onto the Binance.com.au domain, but it doesn’t appear to be working properly. If a user chooses a flower bouquet and attempts to check out, he is met with a message thanking him for the purchase, without asking for a payment or an address.

WIPO’s filing also pointed out that listings on Etsy and eBay use the exact same flower images Binancé is using. It’s worth noting that before the dispute started, Binance first offered to buy the domain for AUD$ 2,000 ($1,380), and ended up giving a final offer of AUD$ 8,000 ($5,500) to the domain’s owner.

Featured image via Pexels.