Company ordered to pay $5,000 after reverse domain name hijacking charge

Panel believe complainant was trying to use arbitration as a “short cut” to acquire domain.

Domain name attorney Zak Muscovitch has helped the owner of save his domain name in a cybersquatting arbitration case. Not only that, but the arbitration panel found the complainant guilty of reverse domain name hijacking and ordered it to pay $5,000.

.ca disputes are subject to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (CDRP). Although rare, panels can levy fines against complainants for reverse domain name hijacking (RDNH) under the CDRP. This differs from the standard UDRP that applies to .com and many other top level domains. In UDRP there’s no monetary penalty for RDNH.

The panel wrote that “there is a very strong suggestion that the Complainant has sought to use this process as a short cut to acquire the Domain Name”.

This isn’t the first time Muscovitch has won an award in a CDRP case. In fact, he represented the respondent in the first such case in which a penalty was levied.

Panel Tells GTMS to GTFO with RDNH

GTFO, that’s RDNH!

A World Intellectual Property Organization National Arbitration Forum panel has found satellite services company Global Transmission Media Solutions (GTMS) guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

GTMS filed a UDRP on the domain name, which was registered in 1999. That’s well before GTMS’ purported first use of the acronym as a brand.

GTMS suggested that the domain owner’s non-use of the and two other domains he owned (which were family names) was evidence of bad faith.

Here’s what the panel had to say about why this dispute was brought in bad faith:

What is rather clear from the contents of the Complaint is that the main motivation for the commencement of these administrative proceedings stems from a frustration on the part of Complainant in not having been able to obtain the domain name which corresponds to the initials of its company name and the letters in the GTMS design mark, its attempts to contact Respondent to negotiate a transfer of the domain name having failed. Complainant was clearly aware that the disputed domain name had been registered since December 1999 and should have realised from that fact alone that it had no basis whatsoever for alleging bad faith registration on the part of Respondent, which is one of the essential elements required by the Policy. To use the UDRP administrative proceeding as Complainant’s last resort to “[securing the domain name] for [its] branding to match with [its] trademark” and because of its concern “that a growing number of [its] potential customers will be unable to connect with [them]” constitutes an abuse of the proceedings…

..This was a Complaint that should never have been filed. Complainant knew that the disputed domain name was registered at least around seven years before it was incorporated and before it acquired registration rights in the GTMS design mark. The Panel therefore makes a finding, pursuant to Paragraph 15(e) of the Rules, that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceedings.

The owner of was represented by Zak Muscovitch of The Muscovitch Law Firm.

Muscovitch: Canadian ccTLD Registry Rules in Need of an Overhaul

by Zak Muscovitch

[In this guest article, Zak Muscovitch argues that the .ca domain name needs to be liberalized. Muscovitch is a domain attorney who is running for a seat on CIRA’s 2010 Board of Directors. -Andrew]

While many countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and India, have opened up their ccTLD registries to foreigners, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (“CIRA”) has been stuck with the same closed-door policy since it enacted its “Canadian Presence Requirements” in 2003.

CIRA’s Canadian Presence Requirements (“CPR”) make it exceedingly difficult for those residing outside of Canada to register a .ca domain name. According (pdf) to CIRA’s CPR, “CIRA is committed to reviewing these Canadian Presence Requirements from time to time in order to ensure they remain in the best interests of Canadians and the .ca registry”. An election is now underway for the Board of Directors of CIRA, and a re-examination of CIRA’s “Canadian Presence Requirements” should be a primary topic of debate throughout the election, with a view to finally making some substantial policy changes afterwards.

In a new study (.doc) of 12 ccTLD’s by, we have concluded that Canada has one of the most restrictive presence requirements of any registry. It requires, inter alia, a prospective registrant to have a registered Canadian trademark or Canadian/provincial corporation, thereby closing the market to those who wish to easily expand their business into Canada or invest there.

The only country of the 12 reviewed, which appears to have more onerous restrictions on registration requirements, is China. China excludes all overseas registrations of their .cn domain name. By excluding all overseas registrations, they have severely restricted their market. This is evident, according to the Domain Name Industry Report 2009 (pdf) conducted by Nominet, which takes note that subsequent to the .cn registry restricted foreign registrations, the “growth in Chinese domain name has not continued, resulting in ccTLD growth rates falling”

While countries such as the United States and Australia permit registration by organizations, individuals and trademark holders who reside outside of the country but engage in activities within the country (such as trade, the buying and selling of goods or providing services to customers), Canada’s policy falls far short in comparison. It requires a Canadian corporation or Canadian trademark registered in Canada, even if the foreigner does business in Canada.

By requiring a registered trademark or corporation within the country before .ca domain name registration is permitted, CIRA limits its market and potential for investment in Canada. According to a study (pdf) conducted by EURid, the registry for the European Union, registration of ccTLD’s significantly increased with the liberalization of domain name policies. According to the EURid study, after Spain “liberalized [its ccTLD policy] in June 2005, its registry grew from 85 000 registrations in 2004 to 1.2 million in 2009”. Countries that employ a more progressive and liberalized approach to domain name registration appear to have higher domain name growth rates.

Overall, India and the Netherlands hold the most progressive approaches by providing very little restriction on domain name registration and permitting any party worldwide to register the .in and .nl ccTLD’s, respectively. According to the SIDN, which is the Netherlands’ registry, this progressive approach appears to be beneficial; .nl has become the fourth largest country code top level domain name in the world, with 4 million domain names registered, only appearing behind domain name giants such as Germany, the United Kingdom and China. It is predicted by SIDN, that at this rate of growth “we should see the five- millionth .nl domain name within the next few years.” This massive growth rate is not by coincidence; it is directly attributable to liberalized registry policies.

Many countries within Europe such as Germany and the United Kingdom, who have engaged in more progressive approaches towards foreign domain name registrants, have seen vast growth in registration. In Germany for instance, all that is required for registration is a VAT number, an administrative contact and postal address. According to Nominet (pdf), with these few restrictions, Germany’s ccTLD has “continued to see [a] steady growth and regained its position as the largest ccTLD by volume” surpassing that of even China (which has actually decreased).

The approach of Germany, India and the Netherlands to ccTLD registration appears to be a model that CIRA should at least consider. By looking at the vast growth rates of registration amongst these countries, in such short periods of time, and their position in the global market, it appears that Canada and CIRA are currently at a disadvantage. Patrick Pichette, the CFO of Google said it best; “Every company now is global… Canadian companies [shouldn’t] miss the boat because we’re not set up [globally].” Mr. Pichette’s words about Canada lagging behind in the digital economy apply equally to Canada lagging behind in the registration of domain names. According to the Domain Name Industry Brief by VeriSign, Canada fails to even make it within the top 10 ccTLD’s by number of registrations. It lags behind Brazil, Italy and Poland. Clearly it has work to do. Although .ca registrations appear to be on an admirable “upward trajectory” according to CIRA CEO, Byron Holland, who has led this charge, when compared to other ccTLD’s, Canada clearly has an opportunity to greatly expand its registry. This will come, largely through liberalization of the registry together with greater promotion of the ccTLD.

Muscovitch’s campaign web site is He prepared this article with the assistance and research of Natalie Ledra of You can download the ccTLD Foreign Registration Comparison Study here (.doc).