Here’s a little background, for the curious:
Back in 2001, Canadian Tire tried to separate Mick McFadden and his anti-Canadian-Tire web site from the domain name crappytire.com. The company’s now-legendary case included the claim that “Crappy Tire” is just an impertinent nickname for the company, and was therefore a protected derivation of the company’s trademark. That gambit exposed Canadian Tire to widespread ridicule, and ultimately failed.
WalMart had previously tried something similar, targeting wallmartcanadasucks.com. The ensuing decision by WIPO, the body that governs the .com domain system, included the following passage that will live on forever in the hearts of those who like to use the word “sucks” without fearing trademark infringement:
This case involves a much narrower question than the questions in the earlier cases: whether a domain name including the suffix “sucks” is confusingly similar to the text string to which “sucks” is appended, or, alternatively, whether a criticism or parody privilege extends to the use of the suffix “sucks.” As sole panelist, I conclude that a domain name including the word “sucks” cannot be confusingly similar, and that a privilege for criticism and parody reinforces that conclusion.
In perhaps the prototype for all future “sucks” cases, Lucent fared just as poorly trying to sue the site lucentsucks.com into non-existence. A district court noted mildly that the defendant had argued “persuasively that the average consumer would not confuse lucentsucks.com with a website sponsored by plaintiff.”
Where companies have had success is when “sucks” domains are registered in bad faith – that is, when the person registering them is clearly doing so to extract money from the company, and not for purposes of parody or criticism.