Recent case involving restaurant guide shows limitations of UDRP for recovering stolen domains.
Companies often use UDRP to recover stolen domain names. I’ve seen several cases of three character domain names being recovered this way.
But there are limitations to using UDRP to recover a stolen domain name. Part of it has to do with how you position your trademark in the filing.
Here’s a case in point: ChicagoRestaurant.com. For over ten years David M. Lissner of Dining Chicago used the domain name. Then the current owner “obtained” the domain name in 2009.
Lissner filed a UDRP and lost, as the panelist noted that it would be very difficult to obtain rights to the descriptive term “Chicago Restaurant”.
But how the current owner “obtained” the domain wasn’t through an expired domain purchase. I contacted Lissner by phone today and he confirmed it was stolen. His technical service provider was listed in the whois, and they shut down. Then someone managed to get the domain name.
It’s pretty easy to figure out how the domain was stolen. The admin email address on the domain had expired and was registered by someone else, who could easily get access to transfer the domain name.
Perhaps the proper way to recover a domain name like this is through a lawsuit. But with a domain name owner in (supposedly) in Turkey, that won’t be easy.