A classic abuse of UDRP.
Every once in a while you come across a classic example of abuse of UDRP domain name arbitration. That’s the case with a recent decision for Scalar.com.
The perpetrator was Scalar Decisions Inc, a fast growing technology company in Canada, represented by Peter M. Dillon of Siskinds LLP. The victim was Scalar Consulting Group.
Here’s what happened in a nutshell:
-Scalar Consulting Group registers Scalar.com in 1996
-Scalar Decisions, Inc. is founded eight years later and uses the domain name Scalar.ca
-Scalar Decisions’ lawyer, who didn’t identify his client, contacted the victim and inquired about buying the domain Scalar.com. In a brief email exchange, the lawyer made an offer that the victim didn’t accept.
-The lawyer then filed a UDRP for Scalar.com, claiming the domain name was registered with the intent to sell and that it was only a parked page meant to capitalize on user confusion (the parked page was just a “coming soon” page from Network Solutions).
The good news is that Scalar Consulting Group prevailed. (It’s rather difficult to prove that a domain was registered in bad faith 8 years before the complainant was founded, unless you can prove the respondent has special powers to see into the future). But Scalar Consulting Group no doubt spent time and/or money defending itself in this frivolous case.
It’s fairly obvious what happened here. Scalar Decisions knew (thought) it had nothing to lose by rolling the dice with UDRP arbitration. You never know when an arbitration panel will wake up drunk and rule in your favor. It if lost, its only out a few thousand dollars.
You can’t blame the domain owner for entertaining an offer to buy the domain name. I know plenty of small business owners who would consider selling their business’ domain name for the right price. In fact, I helped a woman in Austin who was approached by a company about buying the domain she used for her public relations business. We sat down and figured out how much would make it worthwhile to go through the hassle, and she made a deal. But you never know when a lawyer will try to twist that around (unethically, I believe) and use it against you.
So Scalar Decisions moves on with no consequences. Except perhaps for a little public shaming.