Complaint fails, by why did only one panelist find Quality Logo Products guilty of reverse domain name hijacking?
Get On The Web, Ltd has successfully defended the domain name QLP.com in a UDRP brought by Quality Logo Products, Inc. While the overall decision in the case was good, domain investors are still going to be upset about some of the details.
The obvious fact here is that QLP.com is a generic domain. It was also registered in 1999. That’s seven years before Quality Logo Products claims to have started using the QLP brand in commerce.
In other words, unless Get On The Web is psychic, it could not have registered the domain name in bad faith with the complainant in mind.
Quality Logo Products essentially admits this, but argues it was registered to sell to “some party”. Although Get On The Web had a good alternative explanation for registering the domain name, it really doesn’t matter whether it registered it for resale or not.
Here’s the essence of Quality Logo Products’ complaint:
While the Respondent may not have initially registered the disputed domain name to sell it to the Complainant, the Respondent only registered it to sell it for a profit to some party. The Complainant offered to purchase the disputed domain name for a reasonable price, USD 19,500. The Respondent acted in bad faith when it was unwilling to accept a reasonable price, even though the Respondent has absolutely no legitimate use or purpose in holding the disputed domain name.
Ah, the elusive “reasonable” price.
As Get On The Web’s attorney John Berryhill pointed out, this is a ridiculous argument:
The Complainant wants the Panel to decide that the Respondent had an obligation to accept the Complainant’s USD 19,500 offer. Presumably, the Panel is supposed to act as a price arbitration board and determine that bad faith registration and use does not exist at any price up to USD 19,500, but that a penny more renders the disputed domain name to have been registered and used in bad faith. This is, however, an abuse of the Policy as a negotiating tactic, which UDRP panels have seen and addressed many times before.
This case was dead on arrival, and the three person panel ruled against Quality Logo Products for failing to show the domain was registered and used in bad faith.
Are you happy that the panel made the correct decision? Good, because you’re about to get mad.
The majority of the panel did not find Quality Logo Products guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
While this is shocking, there’s some good news. Panelist Richard G. Lyon fulfilled his duties and found the company guilty of abusing the process. In a scathing opinion, Lyon wrote:
We owe it to this Respondent to chastise the Complainant and its representative for their irresponsible conduct. We owe it to the integrity of the UDRP process to call out patent abuses such as I believe this case to be.
The representative in this case was Golan & Christie LLP.
Lyon goes on to explain that the complainant clearly knew the domain wasn’t registered in bad faith and filed the UDRP in an attempt to increase bargaining leverage.
So why did one panelist find RDNH but the others didn’t. Why didn’t the other two panelists agree with Lyon?
It’s impossible to tell, but there is a detail that doesn’t look good. The two other panelists were Jonas Gulliksson and Christopher K. Larus. The first name may ring a bell, as Gulliksson’s law firm is representing the complainant in the highly questionable UDRP for StableTable.com.
Would a complainant’s law firm not want to find other companies guilty of reverse domain name hijacking out of fear it would be called out for RDNH itself? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good. Law firms should either be UDRP arbitration panelists or representatives, but not both.