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VirtualExpo.com Virtually Reverse Hijacked

French company guilty of reverse domain name hijacking for VirtualExpo.com.

A French company has been found to have attempted reverse domain name hijacking of the domain VirtualExpo.com.

M. Corentin Benoit Thiercelin, who claims to run a company called VirtualExpo, filed the complaint with WIPO to get the domain name. The domain was registered in 1996, well before the complainant filed trademarks on the name. The earliest of the trademarks was registered in 2005.

The panelist pointed out that it was impossible that the domain was registered with the complainant’s future trade name in mind:

The Complainant asserts in the Complaint that “The Domain Name was only registered in order to prevent the owner of the trademark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name”. On the papers before the Panel this was a wild, unsupported and wholly misconceived claim.

In finding that the case was brought in bad faith, the panelist wrote:

In the view of the Panel this is a Complaint which should never have been launched. The Complainant knew that the Domain Name was registered nearly 10 years before the Complainant acquired his registered rights, no attempt was made to demonstrate the existence of any earlier rights nor was any attempt made to address the issue arising from the disparity in dates. It simply was not mentioned. Instead, a flagrantly insupportable claim was made as to the Respondent’s bad faith intent at time of registration of the Domain Name and the Panel can only assume that it was hoped that the Panel would miss the point.

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  1. Jim Davies

    More kudos to the excellent Tony Willoughby. If there are any awards for UDRP panelists, he should be at the front of the line.

  2. John Berryhill

    This is such a common fact pattern, it’s become practically routine. The problem is that so few complainants have been chastised for it, so it only encourages more of the same.

    It’s good to see some applied behavioral psychology at work.

  3. Bret Moore

    It’s a combination of laziness and “there’s such a high success rate, let’s roll the dice and see if we get a win by default.” Too bad RDNH doesn’t have a whole lot of teeth to it.

  4. John Berryhill

    The “teeth” are in the attorney who sold this strategy having to tell his/her client not only that they failed, but were chastised.

    What do you think a client does with a $$$$ invoice from an attorney, and a decision that says, “this is a Complaint which should never have been launched”?

  5. Bret Moore

    Duly noted! I suppose that might be a good instance to get the fee up front, assuming that it is the attorney leading the client down the rabbit-hole, and not the other way around.

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