Panel rules domain not registered in bad faith.
In May I wrote about how the owner of SMA.de — SMA Solar Technology AG — had filed a UDRP to get the domain name SMA.com.
A three person World Intellectual Property Organization panel just handed down the verdict: the owner of SMA.com can keep the domain name.
The current owner registered the domain name in 1995. SMA Solar Technology became interested in the domain and tried contacting the owner in 2005. It was rebuffed. Then in 2011 SMA Solar Technology hired an investigator to track down the owner once again:
The investigator recorded that Mr. Platko “stated that he does not understand why people continue calling him in an attempt to buy the [disputed domain name]. He was curt and emphatic that he did not want to talk to the [investigator] and then stated that the [disputed domain name] is not for sale.”
SMA Solar Technology characterized Platko’s response in 2011 (and in 2005, when he joked that he wanted 100 million dollars for the domain) as proof that he was trying to extract a lot of money for the domain. The panel didn’t buy it.
SMA argued that the renewal of the domain in 2009 was in bad faith. Good luck with that argument.
I will give SMA Solar some credit here, however. It didn’t file a UDRP when it was initially rebuffed. It then went the extra mile to hire an investigator to track down the owner in 2011. It filed a UDRP as last resort.
Of course, this also counted against it in the UDRP. It clearly believe it needed to buy the domain because the owner was the rightful owner. Why else would you go to the extreme length of hiring an investigator to track down the owner?
At the end of the day, there’s no way you can argue this domain was registered in bad faith.
As for the elusive Platko, he didn’t respond to the UDRP filing.
SMA.com does not resolve, and apparently it’s been like that for a long time. Maybe even a couple decades.