Panel determines that Aptus Tech engaged in reverse domain name hijacking.
Last month I asked why people didn’t do a bit of research before filing a UDRP against Frank Schilling.
The specific case that prompted my article was Klipz.com, which had just been filed.
The decision is in, and it’s clear that, not only did the complainant not research who owned the domain, but he didn’t research much about UDRP, either.
A three person National Arbitration Forum panel found complainant Aptus Tech LLC, represented by Max Moskowitz, of Ostrolenk Faber LLP, guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
The details in this case are particularly egregious.
Basically, the founder of Aptus Tech tried to buy Klipz.com from Schilling’s Name Administration before he started the business. He failed to acquire it, but went ahead and filed a trademark application and (apparently) started marketing a product by the name Klipz. (I say “apparently” because I can’t find any details about the product online.)
Respondent also takes issue with Complainant’s assertion in its complaint that “on or around August 27, 2009,” Respondent, in response to an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org,” offered to sell the domain name to Complainant. Respondent notes that Complainant did not even exist as of August 27, 2009 and that Complainant makes no attempt to explain how Respondent’s willingness to entertain the offer to purchase in 2009 establishes a “primary purpose” in having acquired the domain name in 2004. Respondent contends that it was under no obligation to sell the domain name to email@example.com who claimed to be “starting a small business” in August 2009. “Indeed, such statement is an admission that no relevant trade or service mark existed at that time. It also demonstrates the Complainant’s full knowledge of Respondent’s senior registration and use of the domain name years before the Complainant began using such a mark in commerce, thus deliberately creating the situation on which the Complaint is premised.
In finding Aptus guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, the panel wrote:
In this case, the evidence indicates that Complainant clearly knew that the disputed domain name was registered many years before it could establish rights in the KLIPZ mark and, thus, that it would not be able to establish that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith, which is one of elements one must establish in order to prevail under the Policy.
Schilling was represented by John Berryhill.