Stirring up a beehive: the most egregious UDRP of 2012?
Monday, December 17th, 2012
Perhaps the worst UDRP filing of 2012.
A single member World Intellectual Property Organization UDRP panel has handed down a ruling in favor of the current owner of Beehive.com.
In doing so, panelist Richard W. Page got the decision right.
But he also failed.
This case is one of the most egregious abuses of the UDRP I’ve ever read, and Page should have found the complainant guilty of reverse domain name hijacking even if the respondent’s attorneys didn’t ask for it.
Here are the basics:
The complainant is Beehive.com, LLC. It’s a company that, despite its name, doesn’t own Beehive.com.
The respondent is Alliance Capital Management of New York.
The respondent has owned the domain name for at least a decade, although the parties will dispute when the actual ownership date occurred.
Regardless, it was well before Beehive.com, LLC (seriously, that’s its name) applied for a trademark on Beehive. And when it did apply in March of this year, it applied on an intent-to-use basis since it wasn’t using the mark in commerce.
The complainant’s arguments in the UDRP show it was either completely inept or was trying to hijack the domain. This is pulled directly from the panelist’s summary:
Complainant alleges that its president, Mr. Allan Gleisinger, made a good faith effort to acquire the Disputed Domain Name. Mr. Gleisinger contacted Respondent and was directed to Ms. Mona Bhalla who was appointed as Respondent’s contact to negotiate the sale of the Disputed Domain Name. After multiple conversations, Ms. Bhalla left Mr. Gleisinger a voicemail stating that Respondent would be willing to sell the Disputed Domain Name for nothing less than USD 100,000 and if interested Mr. Gleisinger should return the call and “if not then it was good speaking with you.”
Complainant believes that Respondent, during this apparent good faith negotiation process, attempted to extort an excessive amount of money in association with the transfer of the Disputed Domain Name which Respondent recognized as being extremely important to Complainant. Not only is “beehive.com” the name of Complainant, it is also the principal element in Complainant’s BEEHIVE Mark and the sole source of Complainant’s brand.
Complainant’s business success depends upon its ability to obtain the Disputed Domain Name. Absent that, Complainant will not be able to brand itself and create an online identity. Complainant’s online monetization mechanism is affectionately called “Sting”, maintaining consistency with the beehive imagery. Complainant’s business plan would no longer make sense without control of the Disputed Domain Name.
Complainant concludes that its ability to raise money from investors so far has been adversely impacted as a result of its inability to obtain the Disputed Domain Name associated with Complainant’s identity. If Complainant had the Disputed Domain Name during its efforts to raise capital, it would not have had to give up as much in equity. Respondent has no intent to use Disputed Domain Name, which has been idle for over 20 years.
I’m really at a loss for words. I can’t imagine a company naming itself a web address that it doesn’t own, and then complaining that not owning it is adversely affecting it business.
Beehive.com, LLC was represented by Pistone & Wolder, LLP. Its web site mentions numerous practice areas, but it doesn’t appear to specialize in intellectual property.
If there ever is UDRP reform, it needs to be designed to stop cases like this.
While Richard Page made the right (and easy) decision, he really should have found Beehive.com, LLC guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.