Lawsuit was filed over one domain that was sold in a portfolio sale.
A company that recently acquired a portfolio of 41 four letter domain names has defended one of the domains in a UDRP.
The circumstances are a bit difficult to follow, and it goes to show how important it can be to save records.
In a nutshell, the owner of nvrt.com owned it for a long time. He sold it along with 40 other names to Comcept – Internet Ventures in the Netherlands.
While they were transacting that sale, and unknown to anybody, a junior trademark claimant decided to sue the former owner of the domain name. When the sale was completed and the registrant changed, the junior trademark claimant claimed the domain name was moved around in “cyberflight”.
A careful chronology shows that it was actually an unfortunate coincidence of events.
Two of the three panelists in the case, Neil Anthony Brown and Karl Fink, found that the domains weren’t registered in bad faith and the new owner has rights or legitimate interests in them.
One panelist, Houston Putnam Lowry, apparently thinks trademark holders should be able to swoop in before a new owner can do anything with the domain. He found against the domain name owner for “rights or legitimate interests” because the new owners hadn’t made preparations to use the domain and weren’t known by the domain.
We’re literally talking about a day between receiving the domains and finding out about the UDRP.
Lowry also found that the four letter domain was registered in bad faith because the owner wanted to sell it to some company with the acronym NVRT, even if it wasn’t the complainant:
The missing factor Complainant cannot directly prove is Respondent specifically targeted Complainant. Respondent denies knowing of Complainant’s existence and denies targeting Complainant. However, Respondent was clearly targeting (i) someone who had a four letter trademark as a prospective purchaser (or their competitors) or (ii) someone with a legitimate business reason to use the four letters NVRT. While Respondent may not have actually known of Complainant’s existence, Complainant was a member of the fairly small class Respondent was targeting as prospective purchasers for the domain name. I would find Respondent targeted Complainant.
Nevermind that the trademark rights the complainant is relying on are very weak.
This is the second UDRP win John Berryhill received today alone.