ConnectedWorld.com UDRP challenged in court
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Case filed in Arizona to halt transfer of domain name.
A Texas man has filed a suit for declaratory and injunctive relief to halt the transfer of ConnectedWorld.com, a domain name he lost in a recent UDRP decision.
In the suit (pdf), Jeffrey Smith claims he has been working on a social network for eldercare since 2008. When the domain name ConnectedWorld.com came up for auction last year, he paid $7,100 to acquire the domain name.
Earlier this year, Specialty Publishing Company filed a UDRP for the domain name. Specialty Publishing Company owns Connected World Magazine and runs a conference by the same name. The company won the UDRP case.
In his suit, Smith admits that he was aware of Connected World since he participated in one of its conferences and his employer advertised in the magazine. Yet he claims his purchase of the domain name was unrelated to this and was just for his eldercare business idea.
But Smith is going to face an uphill battle given the allegations made in the UDRP case against him.
According to the UDRP decision, the day after Smith acquired the domain name he wrote to Specialty Publishing Company stating “By the way – I had the opportunity to pick up the domain name [connectedworld.com] so I did. I didn’t have an agenda just saw it available and picked it up before someone else did.” That seems to fly in the face of his assertion that it was for his eldercare social network.
Further communications between the parties are even more damning. As written in the decision:
Respondent’s subsequent e-mails with the Complainant further support the inference that Respondent purchased and registered the domain name in bad faith. In several follow-up e-mails, Respondent informed Complainant that Respondent had been contacted by several people since Respondent bought the domain name (June 22, 2011 e-mail), that Respondent has sold domain names in the past (February 21, 2012 e-mail), that Respondent received a quarter of a million dollars for the sale of memorial.com (February 21, 2012), and that “Almost everything is for sale, we are just negotiating a price” (February 21, 2012).
If Smith is in the wrong, he could be opening himself up to paying a bigger penalty than just losing the domain name.
(As a side note, it does appear that Smith sold Memorial.com to Kevin Ham’s Vertical Axis in 2006. I don’t recall seeing this sale reported. Although I wouldn’t consider the assertion in the UDRP that he sold it for $250,000 proof of the sales price, it seems reasonable.)