Obscure clothing company wins fbomb.com in arbitration.
In January I wrote about an ongoing auction at Sedo for the domain name Fbomb.com. Here’s what I wrote:
“FBomb.com – $1,500 – so many uses”
There are so many uses because of the generic meaning of f-bomb.
So I was surprised to notice a few weeks later that fbomb.com was in arbitration at National Arbitration Forum. I contact the owner who told me that the company that won the domain at Sedo filed for arbitration.
Here’s what happened:
1. The complainant owned fbomb.com and used it to sell sportswear for extreme sports. He let the domain expire.
2. The respondent won fbomb.com at a GoDaddy auction. He no doubt was attracted to the wildly popular generic term.
3. Having acquired this great generic domain name, the respondent offered it for sale.
4. The complainant, realizing he’d let the domain expire, tried to buy it. Although the details written in the decision are somewhat murky, it appears that he placed a $1,500 offer for the domain at Sedo. The respondent sent the domain to auction, where complainant won it for $4,101.
5. Upset about having to pay so much for his mistake, the complainant filed a UDRP.
There may be more to it, but this is how I interpret the panel’s decision.
But the arbitrator, who had probably never heard the term f-bomb before, seemed to think that this small clothing outfit in California had established a secondary meaning for the term. (The respondent probably didn’t know this, since there were no trademarks filed.) That’s like me starting a clothing line in Austin called LOL and claiming rights to the domain LOL.com.
Here’s one choice line from the arbitrator:
Respondent allegedly registered the fbomb.com domain name on [the day it expired], and immediately began offering it for sale. The Panel finds that this further evidences Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests.
Gasp! Someone bought a generic domain name and immediately started offering it for sale. How dare they!
That arbitrator should be fired and the respondent ought to file a court case…IMO.
I just read the decision. That is nothing short of sickening.
They reference a case where someone registered JobFinance.com when it dropped and just b/c he registered it when it dropped as opposed to waiting a month or two…..it was bad faith registration.
Where does this madness end? Good grief!
Tim Davids says
Where do they get these people that make these decisions?
Andrew Allemann says
I just don’t understand how it was registered in bad faith. Unless there was some evidence not included in the decision, I don’t see how it’s plausible the buyer knew there was a business using the name fbomb. And even if there was, if they let it expire I’d assume they were shutting down their small operation. Even a trademark search wouldn’t pull it up. The decision mentions nothing of ppc links on the page for competitors products, either.
This is another example of why we as domain investors are screwed long term because the system is against those people who own invest in domains.
Until domainers band together to create a legal fund to go out and support domain cases, we will continue to read about decisions like this. This is not the first and not the last.
Unfortunately, domain investors will not support a fund in a manner in which it needs to be funded in order to be successful.
The legal precedent for these cases makes it harder daily for us to protect our assets. Each day, we take a step backwards.
Andrew Allemann says
Steven, it would also help if we could get all of the “no-brainer” UDRPs out of the statistics. There’s an assumption of guilt to the respondent because 90% of the time the complainant wins. But 89% of the cases are obvious trademark violations.
Randall Brown says
I think that the UDRP should have a better investigation before make a decision. Yes the guy let the domain expire, His Fault, yes the guy put the winning big on the domain, He never paid because the UDRP was brought in. Now how is the guy suppose to make a living or profit from that.
I think the decision was wrong, They guy would have got email about it expiring. Bad House keeping is not the sellers fought and the WDRP should have settled it with the auction because the guy already bid on it at sedo.
I’d almost venture to guess somebody did somebody else a favor.
Another joke of arbitration. If you go through the list of all UDRP’s you will see that hundreds of generics have been stolen from their rightful owners.
another clear cut example of domain name hijacking.
Here is what purchase emails are starting to look like. After perspective buyer inquired about a domain name with an offering price. They received a counter offer. They’re only reply was “Good luck. We will take it up with ICANN” Keep in mind this is a highly generic descriptive term.
Steve M says
Andrew: So you’re saying he didn’t have to cough up the 4k he legally agreed to pay for it, then?
Andrew Allemann says
@ Steve – that’s another matter. If I were the owner of fbomb I’d go after him for breaking the contract. But technically the contract is between both parties and Sedo, not both parties.
Domain Name Media says
I wonder if reselling or parking will ever be seen as a legitimate use of a generic domain name. I’m not holding my breath.
David Lahoti says
@fred and @steven, speaking of jokes and being screwed in the long term, we lost a decision where we created the domain in 2000 which is 2 years prior to the complainant’s existence.
The arbitrator acknowledged that we created it in 2000 but conveniently concluded that our creation date should actually be considered 2008 because we transferred it to our corporation at that time.
We are currently appealing this decision in the Central District of California.
The attorney who did that FBomb case, Steven Rinehart, files a lot of these. If you have a good attorney, you can win.