Australian company uses UDRP in bad faith.
I’m kind of upset lately over panels not finding reverse domain name hijacking, so let me applaud the three person panel in a case over Futuris.com.
The panel found Australia-based Futuris Automotive Interiors guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
Even more shocking: Andrew Christie was a member of the panel.
Futuris Automotive Interiors certainly has trademarks for Futuris, but for the automotive industry. The issue here was that it had full knowledge that the respondent didn’t register the domain in bad faith.
Respondent X9 registered the domain name 17 years ago in 1994 when it was called Futuris Networks, Inc. The complainant was well aware of that and alluded to the business in correspondence sent to X9.
After receiving no response to the correspondence, Futuris Automotive Interiors filed the complaint.
The three person panel wrote:
The Complainant made two principal assertions regarding bad faith: (i) that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of the Complainant; and (ii) that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name primarily in order to prevent the Complainant and/or the Complainant’s parent company from reflecting the mark FUTURIS in a corresponding domain name.
As the evidence provided by the Complainant itself showed, however, neither of these assertions had any basis in fact….
…it is clear to the Panel that the Complainant knew or ought to have known that the Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name could not, under any fair interpretation of the reasonably available facts, have constituted registration and use in bad faith. The Panel therefore finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.
As a quick note to domain owners, the respondent may have been able to avoid this UDRP by responding to the complainant’s inquiries about the domain. Of course the complainant could have tried to use any response against it in a UDRP as well. It’s a double-edged sword.