A classic abuse of UDRP.
Every once in a while you come across a classic example of abuse of UDRP domain name arbitration. That’s the case with a recent decision for Scalar.com.
The perpetrator was Scalar Decisions Inc, a fast growing technology company in Canada, represented by Peter M. Dillon of Siskinds LLP. The victim was Scalar Consulting Group.
Here’s what happened in a nutshell:
-Scalar Consulting Group registers Scalar.com in 1996
-Scalar Decisions, Inc. is founded eight years later and uses the domain name Scalar.ca
-Scalar Decisions’ lawyer, who didn’t identify his client, contacted the victim and inquired about buying the domain Scalar.com. In a brief email exchange, the lawyer made an offer that the victim didn’t accept.
-The lawyer then filed a UDRP for Scalar.com, claiming the domain name was registered with the intent to sell and that it was only a parked page meant to capitalize on user confusion (the parked page was just a “coming soon” page from Network Solutions).
The good news is that Scalar Consulting Group prevailed. (It’s rather difficult to prove that a domain was registered in bad faith 8 years before the complainant was founded, unless you can prove the respondent has special powers to see into the future). But Scalar Consulting Group no doubt spent time and/or money defending itself in this frivolous case.
It’s fairly obvious what happened here. Scalar Decisions knew (thought) it had nothing to lose by rolling the dice with UDRP arbitration. You never know when an arbitration panel will wake up drunk and rule in your favor. It if lost, its only out a few thousand dollars.
You can’t blame the domain owner for entertaining an offer to buy the domain name. I know plenty of small business owners who would consider selling their business’ domain name for the right price. In fact, I helped a woman in Austin who was approached by a company about buying the domain she used for her public relations business. We sat down and figured out how much would make it worthwhile to go through the hassle, and she made a deal. But you never know when a lawyer will try to twist that around (unethically, I believe) and use it against you.
So Scalar Decisions moves on with no consequences. Except perhaps for a little public shaming.
David J Castello says
There should be a UDRP law whereby if someone offers to buy a name they are recognizing you as the rightful owner.
Scalar Decisions = Thieves – IMHO.
I wonder if the customers, employees and suppliers of Scalar Decisions would question the ethics of the company if they knew they tried to (down right) steal the domain?
Are they next?
If I was dealing with them, I know I would make a mental note.
Kevin Ohashi says
One of the best ideas I’ve heard in awhile…so easy and simple, and effective.
M. Menius says
@David – “There should be a UDRP law whereby if someone offers to buy a name they are recognizing you as the rightful owner.”
That was the exact remark I was about to make. The logic is overwhelming.
It seems like an automatic no-brainer. You make an unsolicited offer for a domain, then you ARE acknowledging the legitimacy of registrant’s rights. In fact, making a documented offer should cause forfeiture of use of UDRP.
A greedy jack*ass can’t have it both ways. Either make an offer for the domain or launch a UDRP. Make up your mind, Scalar.
Where is it written that selling a domain is “evidence” of bad faith registration? That’s a distortion and misinterpretation in 99% of the cases. If you register IBM.com and call IBM offering to sell the name, then yes, that’s bad faith. But less than that it’s simply called doing business (when trademark rights are not involved).
this post already ranks for Scalar Decisions, hopefully it will also rank for Scalar.
Everyone – if you have a blog, I suggest you link to this post with the word “scalar” or “scalar decisions” in the anchor text.
“A greedy jack*ass can’t have it both ways. Either make an offer for the domain or launch a UDRP. Make up your mind”
In criminal law, it is refered to as entrapment.
“Entrapment is the act of a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense which the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. In many jurisdictions, entrapment is a possible defense against criminal guilt.”
Besides UDRP fee there should be also deposit $5K which will be given back if won or given to complainant if lost
I meant given to respondent
Domain Superstar says
“One of the best ideas I’ve heard in awhile…so easy and simple, and effective.”
I agree. Great idea.