Respondent wins but should have gotten more than that.
National Arbitration Forum panelist Beatrice Onica Jarka got the “answer” correct in a recent UDRP case. But she really should have considered reverse domain name hijacking.
The case was brought by deals site Shopzooey, Inc.
Shopzooey, Inc was founded in 2011. Upon finding the domain name Shopzooey.com already registered, the company registered MyShopZooey.com in July 2011. ShopZooey.com was registered in September 2010.
Fast forward to 2012 and ShopZooey is frustrated that it can’t get in touch with the owner of the better domain name to try to buy it. So it files a UDRP.
Here are some of the complainant’s arguments:
“Respondent has failed to address continued overtures by Complainant in a good faith attempt to open up a negotiations dialogue for the possible purchase of the domain.”
“The domain name is being used in bad faith, as upon purchasing the disputed domain name, Respondent failed to put the domain to proper use. To date, Respondent has yet to make proper use of the domain and this misuse has continued for one year and four months.”
“…Respondent’s continued renewal and failure to properly utilize the domain qualifies as a deliberate attempt by Respondent to profit from diverting users to the Respondent’s myshopzooey.com website by causing mistake or deception as to the source of origin of the services and intentionally disrupting Complainant’s business.”
“Respondent utilized a third-party registration company (Domains by Proxy, Inc.) to shield the true identity of the Respondent. As such, Complainant submitted numerous requests to the third-party registration company to contact the Respondent to attempt to engage in a dialogue regarding the disputed domain name.”
My God, I think I might throw up.
If there ever is UDRP reform, arbitration forums should be required to throw out cases where the subject domain was registered before any claimed trademark rights.
In the meantime, panelists should call reverse domain name hijacking when they see it. Even if the respondent doesn’t have a lawyer and doesn’t know to ask for it.