WIPO panel finds that lead generation technology company abused UDRP.
A three person World Intellectual Property Organization panel has found the company behind LeadPages.net to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in a cybersquatting complaint.
Avenue 81, Inc., which offers lead generation software and tools at LeadPages.net, filed a cybersquatting complaint against Karl Payne, the owner of LeadPages.com.
Payne registered the .com domain name in 2004. LeadPages.net was formed and its domain name registered in late 2012. Obviously, they chose the .net domain name because the .com was taken.
After first trying to acquire the domain name for as much as $15,000, LeadPages.net filed the complaint with WIPO. The company argued that, since his most recent renewal of the domain name, Payne had switched the use of the domain name from inactive to promoting a service to take advantage of misguided traffic.
Payne, along with domain name attorney John Berryhill, showed that the domain name has actually been used for various lead generation programs over the past decade.
The response states that the complainant omitted any of the parties’ communications in its written complaint.
A footnote in the WIPO decision refers to RDNH.com, and how it labels cases in which a company files a UDRP after failing to negotiate a purchase “Plan B”. (Nat Cohen maintains the database at RDNH.com.)
The panel noted:
The Complainant’s assertion that the Respondent passively held the disputed domain name with the patience of Job, awaiting the day when the Complainant or some other third party would eventually adopt “Leadpages” for use as a business identifier, borders on the absurd, and as the record reveals is simply untrue as a matter of fact – facts the Complainant could and should have found out for itself with a brief Internet search before filing the Complaint.
The panel determined that LeadPages.net had engaged in reverse domain name hijacking by filing the misguided complaint.
Avenue 81/Lead Pages was represented by law firm Fredrikson & Byron.