ISP tries to get domain name registered many years before it even existed.
A World Intellectual Property Forum panel has found California internet service provider Webpass, Inc guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in its attempt to get the domain name WebPass.com. The ISP uses Web-Pass.com as its web page.
Webpass, Inc. didn’t start using the Web Pass name until 2007, but the current registrant of WebPass.com registered the domain name in 2001. As such, it’s impossible that the domain name was registered in bad faith unless the owner is psychic.
Webpass, Inc. and its representative (Law Office of Richard J. Greenstone) pointed to a misguided case Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows that some rogue panelists have used to argue a domain name doesn’t have to be initially registered in bad faith to still be in violation of UDRP rules.
But panelist Richard Hill wasn’t swayed. He was also a bit miffed that the complainant incorrectly argued that webpass.com hadn’t been used and this was evidence of bad faith:
The Complainant argues that the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name, and that this demonstrates his bad faith. But this allegation is not correct. As the Complainant itself points out, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name in the past.
In finding reverse domain name hijacking, Hill wrote:
The Complainant knew when it filed the Complaint that the registration of the disputed domain name preceded by several years any rights that the Complainant may have acquired in the mark WEB PASS. Indeed, the Complainant annexes a printout of the WhoIs registration to the Complaint, and that printout indicates that the domain name was created well before the Complainant’s first use in commerce of its mark. In this Panel’s view, this is sufficient to find reverse domain name hijacking.
This is another example of a case in which the domain name owner shouldn’t have had to put up a defense at all.