No reverse domain name hijacking, but TGW.com to remain with owner.
A three-person National Arbitration Forum panel has denied a case seeking transfer of TGW.com and thegolfwarehouse.com.
The complainant, RG Golf, Inc. (“Complainant”) filed the case against The Golf Warehouse, Inc.
The Golf Warehouse has owned the domain names since 1997. But there’s a bit of history between then and now.
In 2000, The Golf Warehouse filed a UDRP against the complainant in this case for GolfWarehouse.com. The UDRP was denied.
Afterward, the parties entered into a referral agreement in which RG Golf would forward its domain to The Golf Warehouse, Inc. in return for payment.
The referral agreement was later canceled by The Golf Warehouse, Inc. RG Golf then sought cancellation of one of The Golf Warehouse, Inc’s trademarks. But many trademarks remained.
The panel determined that RG Golf failed to show that TGW.com was confusingly similar to any mark for which it has rights. The panel didn’t consider any of the other elements as it relates to TGW.com.
It considered the other elements for TheGolfWarehouse.com, even though it didn’t explicitly find that domain confusingly similar as well. The complainant failed on all of the elements.
Surprisingly, the panel did not find RG Golf guilty of reverse domain name hijacking. The panel wrote:
Although it is blatantly clear that Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the thegolfwarehouse.com and tgw.com domain names and that could not establish that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith, the Respondent has provided no evidence of the harassment or similar conduct that would be necessary to successfully show reverse domain name hijacking
The panel cites a 2002 UDRP case that says:
To establish reverse domain name hijacking, Respondent must show knowledge on the part of the complainant of the Respondent’s right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name and evidence of harassment or similar conduct by the Complainant in the face of such knowledge.
I have no idea why the panel cited this old case as a standard. I would think the filing of this case, in which the panel admits the complainant should have known it had no chance to win, would constitute harrassment.
The case decision is poorly written as well, with a couple odd word replacements. For example, it uses the word “attack” instead of attract.
Three paid panelists miss an error like this?