Thief resold domain names on Flippa to unsuspecting domain buyer.
A National Arbitration Forum panel has refused to hand over the domain names Recent.net, Than.net, and They.net in a UDRP decision.
I wrote about the case earlier this month, suggesting that the UDRP dispute must be over stolen domain names. UDRP is sometimes used to regain control of stolen domain names, but the complainant needs to be able to show trademark rights to the domain names. In this case the complainant admitted he had no trademark rights to the generic recent.net, than.net, and they.net domains.
The complainant says he bought the domain names on June 30, 2009, but his Go Daddy account was latter compromised and the domains transferred to the thief.
The respondent claims he bought the domain names on December 20, 2009 along with others for $1,000 at domain and web site marketplace Flippa.com. He says Flippa verified the seller by telephone. He also contacted the email addresses listed in the WHOIS to verify that Respondent was dealing with the owner and used an escrow service to effect the transaction.
Just because he won the UDRP doesn’t mean the buyer is safe yet. The fact that Flippa verified the current owner of the domains means little, and using an escrow service doesn’t help you avoid buying stolen domain names. In this case, the buyer would have been wise to look at the whois history for the domains, rather than just looking at the current whois. As I pointed out in my earlier article, the whois records for these domains has been erratic — a common sign of theft.