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Wow: Craigslist loses Craigslists.com domain dispute

UDRP panel doesn’t understand that page is just an automated parked page.

Online classifieds site Craigslist has lost a case against one Craig Solomon for the domain name CraigsLists.com (note the extra ‘s’ at the end).

The National Arbitration Forum panel relied heavily on laches — Craigslist’s delay in filing the dispute — in coming to its determination. Although that’s great news for domain investors, at the end of the day I think the panel was duped.

The panel determined that the domain name was not registered and used in bad faith because the site at the domain offers services distinct from Craigslist’s bread and butter of classified ads. Instead, the panel determined that CraigsLists.com merely includes a directory to businesses.

It also said that laches was a key strike against Craigslist. Why did the classifieds superpower wait nine years after the “typo” CraigsLists.com was registered to file a dispute?

And that brings us to how the panel got duped.

Here’s what it wrote about how this nine year delay harms the domains owner:

We find that Complainant’s delay in bringing this proceeding is not excusable. Finally, that evidence indicates that Respondent has been engaged in his business for nine years, has developed relationships with the service providers listed on his website, and has devoted time and money to establishing his business. Respondent would suffer prejudice if the domain name were transferred.

Now, you tell me what you see when you go to CraigsLists.com.

What you are viewing is a framed page of CraigSolomon.net. CraigSolomon.net is just a parked page at SmartName.

So the evidence is that the domain owner has not “developed relationships with the service providers listed on his website”. Hardly any time or money went into forwarding this domain name.

I guess it’s not the panel’s job to investigate the use of the page. Craigslist’s lawyers should have pointed this out.

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  1. Mike

    Wow, what epic fail. It even says at the bottom of the page that the links are generated by an automated system. How could a panelist be so uneducated as to not be able to recognize a parked page? It’s also an epic fail by the lawyers who probably thought this was a slam dunk. This guy must be making a killing with that page

    Would not want to harm those “business relationships” built over the last nine years.

  2. tm

    OMG, I am speechless yet not surprised as I saw Casey Anthony walk free earlier this year! BR’s more like BS, and yes that guy is making a killing off of typos.

  3. Suthnautr

    It used to be Geeks ran things and Suits had to treat, respect (and pay) us as equals. The Suits were (and are still) mostly technologically challenged at best. Nowadays they’ve gotten around that annoying little mental black hole of genetic deficiency by proclaiming themselves superior through the simple act of putting themselves in charge of technology decisions. Expect to see more decisions like this one and you won’t be disappointed.

  4. Voltaire

    @John Colascione:

    “…Epic failure. It’s parked…”

    True…But, it has been ruled many times in UDRP that a parked page is not a ‘bad faith use’ of a domain.

    This guy is morally a squatter d—head, but, according to past rulings, He can keep it.

  5. Paul

    A landowner does not necessarily have to spend time and money on his/her land.It is their complete freedom whether to develop the land or leave it undeveloped.It is a weired society if somebody tries to take your land simply because you have not spent money and time on your land.

  6. Jamie

    That is crazy. Spent 9 years building relationships with businesses and so on? Lol.

    However, they shouldn’t have waited so long to try get this typo.

  7. John Berryhill

    It seems that this case was merely a vehicle for a point the panel wanted to make in relation to laches – i.e. that UDRP proceedings sound in equity.

    It used to be that legal actions were characterized as “at law” (in which the principal relief sought is monetary damages), or “in equity” (in which the principal relief sought is to require or enjoin action, or where the relief involves a determination of rights among parties). There used to be separate courts for these things (and still are in, for example, Delaware).

    The main point of the decision – stripped of the facts of the case – is this:

    “The arguments against the application of laches in UDRP proceedings has (sic) frequently been based on formality more than reality as it is oft repeated that equitable relief is not part of an administrative proceeding. However the reality is that the UDRP only offers what amounts to equitable relief and there has been a growing recognition and willingness to expressly consider laches as an equitable defense in a proceeding where equitable relief is the only possible remedy.”

    Laches is a defense in equity. Since the UDRP does not involve the award of monetary damages, but is quite directly a proceeding to determine the proper beneficiary of a contract right, then it is, in the old school way of categorizing these things, an cause in equity. Furthermore, the three-pronged structure of the UDRP is entirely based on:

    1. What are the Complainant’s rights?
    2. What are the Respondent’s rights?
    3. Does the Respondent have “unclean hands”?

    The relief sought, and the factors considered are all about competing assertions of right, and “quieting title” to a right to receive services under a contract. These are hallmarks of proceedings in equity.

    Hence, the panel here seemed to be interested in making a larger point about the UDRP as an equitable action, and found this case to be an opportunity to do so. Looking at the bare result, yes there is a substantial “WTF” factor involved, but that’s not unusual at the level of jurisprudence where there is a larger point to be made.

  8. Russ

    I’m more appalled at the tone of Andrew’s article than at the decision.

    Who cares if its a parked page? That’s a legit use! And laches should apply. The panel got it right.

  9. Investor

    It sounds to me like he “devoted time and money to establishing his business.”

    “So the evidence is that the domain owner has not “developed relationships with the service providers listed on his website”. Hardly any time or money went into forwarding this domain name.”

    That would then go further to say it was a “great” investment of his time and money. Don’t be jealous.

    Any two or more parties who relate have a “relationship”. The fact this site has related with anyone for nine years means it has “nine-year” relationships established.

    IF you dated a woman for nine years do you think she would call it a “relationship”.

    People slay me with how they have just decided to make up new definitions for words to make things convenient to their opinion.

    This is the result of having ONLY 2 Political parties to choose from.

  10. Jimbo Jones

    Don’t worry, nobody accidentally types ‘craigslists’. A typo with an extra letter at the end is probably the least likely kind. And furthermore, anyone who did would immediately recognize they are in the wrong place and go directly to the real craigslist. So how much money could he possibly be making? Ads don’t pay per view any more, people have to actually click through.

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