Can’t Wait for the IPO: Norfstrom the Elf
Domain(s): norfstrom.com, 18nordstrom.com, and 8 others
Complainant: Nordstrom, Inc. and NIHC, Inc.
Respondent: Hatching Ideas, LLC
Respondents assert they are "a creative strategic marketing company that has developed new concepts in the use of alphanumeric telephone numbers and word numbers." They contend that have been reluctant to disclose information because of the "impact this might have on the patentability of these new concepts." Respondents aver that complainants never responded to the January 6, 2001, request for a "non-compete/non-disclosure agreement" (Annex 7 to the response).
Respondents describe their purported discovery of creating multiple-letter phone words, e.g., 1-800flower. Respondents assert they have 1-Tonometers installed in one of their companies, RotaSystems -- a company created by respondents to market "several of its patented inventions."
Respondents contend that, because complainants sent their first letter on November 7, 2000, only seven days after respondents registered <1-8Nordstrom.com>, "this prevented our construction of the 1-8NorthPolel.com [sic] website." Respondents describe their "wishes" for creating a North Pole website. Respondents assert that toll-free numbers are more accessible than the public is generally aware of, toll-free numbers give access to more than 300 million potential customers in North America, and domain names give access to billions of potential customers -- free. Respondents assert that eventually 1-8NorthPole will be accessible toll-free to anyone in the world. Respondents assert that:
"... Respondent felt that regions of the world might be attracted to the ‘North Pole’ that did not understand the concept of Santa Claus. So the Respondent proposed a fictional person with the characteristics of an elf, Good Samaritan, angel and everyone’s best friend. The respondent decided on the name, Nordstrom."
Respondents contend the <1-8Nordstrom.com> domain name was registered for a use that does not conflict with complainants’ trademark rights, asserting:
"The reputed domains will be used as the not-for-profit division of 1-8NorthPole. The reputed domains will be used as a child hot line. The Respondent wants to develop 1-8Nordstrom as a safe, educational, and fun place where children can interact with Santa and his helpers."
Respondents assert they were limited in the names they could associate with "866". They contend:
"Respondent wanted the name to be believable, as the character lived at the ‘North Pole’. To name a few of the Respondent’s ideas the name Tom, Tony, Toni, Monty, Morgan, Norm and Norman were considered. However, all of these names were too short. ... The Respondent felt most of the possible surnames sounded too Anglo-Saxon or Latin.
"Therefore, Respondent started thinking about surnames for the ‘special person’ that helped Santa Claus. Reviewing books of surnames the Respondent found the name, Nordstrom. It was listed as being Swedish and meant ‘northern stream’. The Respondent felt that this was a perfect name. Nordstrom fit the Respondent’s requirements for a name."
Respondents elaborate on the etymological reasons why Nordstrom is the perfect name. They contend also that:
"During the discovery process of the 1-8Nordstrom project, a second concept came forward, 1-8Norfstrom. ... The Respondent thought that the ‘f’ might ‘work’ with the concept of elf or dwarf."
Respondents contend that, in light of the odds, if they had designed the domain name to trick customers who accidentally use the wrong key, it would "make more sense for the Respondent to have registered Mordstrom and change the first letter instead of the fourth letter."