WIPO panel rules company filed UDRP “to obtain the disputed domain name at any cost”.
A World Intellectual Property Organization panel has found a software company guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in a UDRP filed against one of Frank Schilling’s domain names.
The UDRP was filed by MetaQuotes Software Corp. for the domain name MetaTrader.com.
Schilling’s company registered the domain prior to MetaQuotes filing for a trademark registration or even copyright registration for its software.
MetaQuotes started corresponding with Schilling about the domain name back in 2009. At the time, Schilling’s company twice pointed out to MetaQuotes that the software company hadn’t filed for trademark registration until after Schilling obtained the domain name.
Nevertheless, when MetaQuotes filed the UDRP it omitted any mention of the prior correspondence between the parties.
Although Schilling and domain attorney John Berryhill didn’t explicitly ask for it, the panel found MetaQuotes guilty of attempting reverse domain name hijacking:
It appears from the Response that when the Complaint in this case was filed (nine years after the registration of the disputed domain name), the Complainant was clearly aware that the Respondent had registered the disputed domain name well before the Complainant had acquired any trademark rights. That fact was expressly drawn to the Complainant’s attention in correspondence between the parties three years ago. Moreover, the Complainant has failed to point to anything that would suggest that any reputation attaching to its mark at the date of registration of the disputed domain name was likely to have been known to the Respondent at that time. It appears to the Panel as if the Complainant persisted in filing these proceedings without regard to these factors, or to its likelihood of success in the case, and in spite of its past interactions with the Respondent. In these circumstances the current Policy proceedings as commenced by the Complainant appear to be little more than a blatant attempt to obtain the disputed domain name at any cost. In addition the Panel notes that the Complainant failed to disclose in the Complaint its pre-Complaint correspondence with the Respondent and did not deny its existence in its supplementary submission, which omission does nothing to reinforce its bona fides.
It appears to the Panel that the Complainant must have known when it filed the Complaint that in these circumstances there was no reasonable chance of success and that it was putting the Respondent to unjustifiable trouble and expense in defending these proceedings.