Software company fails to snag USU.com domain. But where’s the beef?
A three person panel at WIPO has ruled in favor of the current registrant of USU.com in a domain dispute. However, in a brief opinion, it failed to consider the issue of reverse domain name hijacking.
The domain name arbitration case was brought by software company USU AG of Germany, which was represented by HÃ¶ssle Kudlek & Partner, PatentanwÃ¤lte, Germany. The respondent was represented by domain name lawyer John Berryhill.
Although USU AG was founded prior to the domain being registered, the software company had not established rights to the mark in the United States at that time. Furthermore, the domain’s owner created a legitimate business at the domain. Even if the software company had established rights to the mark in the United States and the owner hadn’t used the domain, it would still be a long shot to prove that a generic, three character domain was registered in bad faith.
USU AG tried to convince the panel that the domain was registered in bad faith because the domain’s owner entered into negotiations to sell the domain to the software company. But the panel didn’t buy it:
Nor can the Panel find anything justifying a finding of bad faith registration and use from the unfulfilled negotiations between the parties over the sale and purchase of the disputed domain name. A 3-letter domain name is a valuable asset and the Respondent was quite at liberty to attempt to sell this asset especially in view of the Panel’s finding of Respondent’s use of the domain name in connection with its business.
But the question remains, why didn’t the panel consider finding reverse domain name hijacking in light of USU AG’s week case? The panel’s decision is particularly brief. Perhaps time was of the essence?