Electronic dance website guilty of reverse domain name hijacking after engaging in “duplicitous dealings”.
I have to admit, I don’t expect much business or legal sense from a company that uses the domain name digi10ve.com for a site it calls “Digilove”…
Ryan P. Boggs of the site Digi10ve.com filed a seven-sentence UDRP pleading with WIPO to try to wrestle the domain name Digilove.com away from Frank Schilling.
The case was filed with the help of attorney Molly Megee Hankins, whose LinkedIn profile shows that she’s co-founder of Digi10ve.com.
Boggs complained that Schilling’s Name Administration had been “squatting” on Digilove.com since 2003 and wouldn’t sell it for less than $16,000.
He didn’t start Digilove (or is that Digi10ve?) until 2010, according to a trademark application.
Hankins originally inquired about buying the domain in 2010. Boggs then followed up, offering to buy the domain “at a reasonable marked up price”.
According to the response, Boggs offered $16,000 for the domain, which Name Administration accepted.
Boggs withdrew the offer, explaining that the offer had been made to see what Name Administration would have accepted for the domain.
He then filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “Digilove”.
The three person panel found that Boggs “engaged in duplicitous dealings with the Respondent in relation to potential purchase of the disputed domain name”.
Although the case was dead on arrival, it also turns out that the fact that Schilling parked the domain was helpful to his cause.
Parking can doom a domain when it shows links related to a trademark. In this case, Digilove.com showed links related to dating, which is a natural use for the generic meaning of this domain. The panel ruled that the parked page was a bona fide use of the domain. The panel wrote:
It is clear from the links appearing on pages produced by the Respondent from its website, links such as “Photo Personals”, “Christian Online Dating”, “Compatibility and Dating Advice”, that the disputed domain name has been used in connection with a purpose related to its generic or dictionary meaning.”
“…[T]he Complainant implies that the Respondent has been holding the disputed domain name for an empty website solely for resale, without addressing the fact that the website under the disputed domain name has been actively used to provide advertising links to other sites.”
Unsurprisingly, the panel found Boggs guilty of reverse domain name hijacking:
The Complaint is egregiously deficient. First, the Complaint is largely bare of substantive content. The entire pleading and particulars of the Complaint comprise a mere seven sentences. Secondly, the Complaint is almost entirely devoid of probative evidence in support of the assertions contained therein. The only substantive item of evidence filed by the Complainant is an online printout of its trademark registration. Thirdly, and consequently, the Complaint is grossly misleading. The Complaint fails to set out facts that are fundamental to the Complainant’s case and of which the Complainant must have had knowledge, such as the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s unsolicited communications with the Respondent regarding possible purchase of the disputed domain.