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 nameâ€. 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.