Vacation rental company files domain arbitration cases.
When I go on vacation with my family, I usually try to rent a vacation home. Not only is it affordable for a family, but it lets you live with the locals. To find vacation homes I usually turn to HomeAway, Inc., an Austin-based company that has raised over $400 million of capital to do a roll up of vacation rental web sites.
So I was disappointed this week to see that the company filed a domain arbitration case for the generic domain name HomeAwayFromHome.com. HomeAway has several registered trademarks for “Home Away from Home”. Two of them were filed recently with first used in commerce dates of 2008. However, the company also acquired or licensed a trademark that was registered in 1999. But HomeAway, Inc. wasn’t founded until 2005.
A HomeAway representative said the company filed the complaint after trying to contact the owner of HomeAwayfromHome.com numerous times without success.
HomeAwayFromHome.com is registered to Frank Schilling’s Name Administration, which receives perhaps hundreds or thousands of unsolicited queries every month.
On the same day HomeAway filed the dispute for HomeAwayFromHome.com, it also filed one for VRBOcleaner.com. HomeAway owns VRBO.com (Vacation Rental By Owner). The registered owner of the domain runs a small home cleaning business that does a work for vacation home owners that list their homes on VRBO.com. She said that Home Away contacted her about the domain, and she decided to give it up. She thought she was supposed to cancel the domain with the registrar, but of course that means it can’t be transferred to Home Away. Therefore, Home Away filed the UDRP.
Although that case will simply require a rubber stamp from NAF, I wouldn’t be surprised if a panel found HomeAway guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking for HomeAwayfromHome.com. That might be better than the alternative for HomeAway; if it somehow convinces an arbitration panel that it should hand over this generic domain, it will surely end up in a court fight.
In that case, it might need to use its service to find a nice vacation rental in Cayman Islands.