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.
ICANN needs to address this badly.
If IBM or Coke lost their domain they have to trudge through the Turkish legal system and may not ever even find this person in Turkey to press charges.
They are not going to change their name so I guess it would mean bribing Turkish officials until they ran this thief down and returned the domain.
We all know that outside this there probably is no recourse to getting a domain back from a Turkish citizen.
What do you say ICANN? How can we fix this nasty growing problem, which sad to say, mainly comes from Turkey, China, and Iran ?
Andrew Allemann says
@ Tim – they’d probably argue jurisdiction in Virginia (VeriSign) or where the registrar is located. The tougher issue is if the registrar doesn’t cooperate.