Former congressman guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, says WIPO panel.
Earlier today I wrote about how Ron Paul lost both of his domain disputes brought before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The disputes were filed against RonPaul.com and RonPaul.org and were both heard by the same arbitration panel under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
The panel ruled that in the case of RonPaul.org, former congressman Paul is guilty of reverse domain name hijacking (pdf).
The owners had offered to sell RonPaul.com to Paul but also offered to give him RonPaul.org as an alternative if Paul didn’t want to buy the .com. Since Paul filed a UDRP against RonPaul.org after the owner offered to give it to him for free, the panel found the case to be reverse domain name hijacking.
Respondent has requested, based on the evidence presented, that the Panel make a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. In view of the unique facts of this case, in which the evidence demonstrates that Respondent offered to give the Domain Name ronpaul.org to Complainant for no charge, with no strings attached, the Panel is inclined to agree. Instead of accepting the Domain Name, Complainant brought this proceeding. A finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking seems to this Panel to be appropriate in the circumstances.
The panel did not find reverse domain name hijacking in the RonPaul.com case (pdf), but determined that Paul did not prove a lack of rights or legitimate interest in the domain by the respondent. As a result, the panel ruled the domain name should remain with its current owner.
A UDRP arbitration panel will find so-called reverse domain name hijacking when it believes that a case was filed in bad faith in abuse of the administrative proceedings.
Both cases have a number of unique circumstances and conclusions, and show the convoluted ownership trail for the domains. They’re worth reading.
There is no financial penalty for reverse domain name hijacking in a UDRP domain dispute.