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Qwalify.com owner files UDRP against Qualify.com

Canadian company tries using UDRP to get “correct” spelling of its name. Qualify.com was registered more than 10 years before the company was founded.

Qwalify, Inc., a company that services the job recruiter industry, has filed a UDRP (pdf) against the domain name Qualify.com.

And yes, this case is as bad as it sounds. It’s rather comical, really.

Qwalify claims to have started using its brand around 2010. To make the case that the domain name was registered in bad faith, it argues that the domain name was acquired in 2012. That’s when the whois privacy service for the domain name changed.

DomainTools’ historical whois records show a number of different privacy services going back to at least 2005. The reality is the domain name has been owned by the same person since 1999.

Even if you forgive Qwalify for not figuring out that it’s the same owner, the case is still ridiculous. Here’s a company that made up a spelling for a word that is now going after the correct spelling. It’s like a reverse typo.

Qwalify argues that Qualify.com is taking advantage of its mark by attracting unsuspecting internet users and monetizing them with a parked page.

…there is further evidence that Respondent is currently using the domain name in an attempt to attract users to its website for its own commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s Qwalify Trademark. Respondent’s domain name is virtually identical to Complainant’s Qwalify Trademark. Respondent has parked the page as a landing site for paid advertising in the hopes that third parties will misspell the Qwalify Trademark when they are looking for Complainant, and land on Respondent’s page.

Wait — qualify.com is a misspelling? Go figure.

…The more people that navigate to Respondent’s page and click on any of the links contained thereon, the more revenue Respondent can generate through the pay per click advertising. There is no question that Respondent is intentionally trying to attract internet users to its site for its own commercial gain by exploiting the likelihood of confusion with the Qwalify Trademark.

Panelists tend to give some weight to this argument when the parked page includes links related to the complainant. But you won’t find any job or recruiter related links on Qualify.com. Qwalify acknowledges this and argues that parking page’s links are unrelated to common meaning of “qualify”.

The complaint points out how baseless the links are, including an ad for Chuck E Cheese.

(When I go to the domain name the ads are all retargeted ads for sites I’ve visited. I wonder if the computer used to do research was also used to visit kids sites or ChuckECheese.com.)

Qwalify makes the case that the domain owner was aware of Qwalify when it registered the domain name because it was “acquired” around the same time Qwalify filed its trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In reality, it was just a change in the whois proxy service, so this argument fails.

Even when you ignore the inaccurate portrayal of the domain ownership change, the idea that the acquirer of Qualify.com would be aware of a company called Qwalify is certainly not a given.

If you were buying Qualify.com, would you think to look for a made up homophone?

Should you also search for qualifi? Cwalify? Cualify? Where would it end?

Yet Qwalify argues “Here there can be no doubt that had Respondent made such an effort, as is its obligation, that it would have found Complainant’s Qwalify Trademark…Complainant’s use of “Qwalify” would have been known had Respondent done a simple search engine search”.

A simple search? You’d have to know what you’re searching for. If you search for “qualify”, as you likely would if you were acquiring the domain, you wouldn’t find Qwalify. Qwalify tries to make its point by showing that if you search for “Qualify.com” on Google it asks “Did you mean: qwalify.com”.

Qwalify also claims “There is no way Respondent incurred out of pocket costs in the amounts of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

No way?

It’s true that the domain wasn’t acquired for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But that’s because it was actually acquired in 1999. Had the domain sold in 2012, it’s entirely possible it would have been for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This case is about a company that made a bad naming decision. It bought a domain name that it now has to spell out to everyone. “It’s qualify, that’s q-w-a-l-i-f-y.”

Yes, internet users are confused by this strange spelling. The complainant gives an example of such confusion: a directory listing for Qwalify that links to Qualify.com instead of Qwalify.com.

That’s the price you pay for not acquiring the right domain name to begin with.

If Qwalify wants Qualify.com, it’s going to have to pay for it. Knowing the owner of the domain name, playing dirty by filing a UDRP may have just increased the asking price.

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    Leave a Comment

  1. chad folk says

    Its getting out of hand, really.. These BS case will continue as they have no penalty for losing.. The owner now has to spend money to file just to counter and defends it ownership so this policy or format needs addressed. Is anyone interested in stepping up and try and change policy so BS cases like this have to at least cover $2500 in legal fees if they lose? What was the whole point of establishing case law back in 1996-97-98, nothing as its now just as easy to file a claim then negotiate a deal as your chances are good groups like WIPO.

  2. Mike says

    From Mike Mann: “If one is not willing to spend a few thousand dollars for their perfect company domain name, they dont have a real company.”

    They registered this qwalify.com and later discovered that there is qualify.com..stupidity or broke?

  3. Domainer Extraordinaire says

    I wonder how long it took them to find a lawyer hungry enough to take this case. If this company ever becomes successful and spends a substantial amount in advertising, Qualify.com will be the bigger beneficiary.

  4. Max says

    Are they British? If so I am ashamed .
    They even mis-spell the name of their own company on their home page ! Qwalfy! Lol – total idiots.

  5. Domainer Extraordinaire says

    This cat stole the idea from Elequa, who registered Qwality.com in 2009.

  6. Jake Legg says

    Adelman Matz PC in New York was incorporated just 5 months ago on 27th September 2013. Their domain name http://www.adelmanmatz.com was registered on the 26th September 2013.

    There doesn’t seem to be much on their website however there is a page entitled “Success AM” which doesn’t list any successes on it yet. So maybe they’re hoping that this case will be a success for them?

  7. james says

    As ridiculous as the case is, I say that they have a 70% chance of winning the case because they are the complainants (clients).

  8. HahHaHaHaHa says

    Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!! Confusion? They are confused. They can’t even spell their own name correctly on their website.

    On their main website page <a href="http://www.qwalify.com"www.qwalify.com they say:

    With a focus on proactive recruiting and engagement, Qwalfy’s simple management tools and sensible pricing allow you to build a highly successful business with recurring revenues. Set yourself apart from other recruiting agencies by offering your clients something unique and effective.

  9. Joseph Peterson says

    Of all words to fake, why make faux versions of “Quality” and “Qualify”?

    So you order quality items, and what arrives is “qwality” junk.

    Or you think you’re on the operating table of a qualified surgeon, who — as you’re sinking to sleep under anesthesia — whispers into your ear:

    “Actually, no. I’m a ‘qwalified’ surgeon — ‘qwalified’ with a W'”

    Quality and Qualifications are not ideas to get cute with. Bad branding in the first place — even apart from the domain problem they lazily invented for themselves.

  10. Rob says

    “It’s rather comical, really.”

    sadly, no not comical. imagine if you owned a domain like this and was hit with such a (IMO) frivolous UDRP? what a waste of time and money it would be to defend yourself.

    it’s rather f* disgraceful, really. that’s the nicest way i can put it.

  11. David Howarth says

    I’m surprised that Sarah Matz, an attorney and partner at law firm Adelman Matz, did not do her homework before lodging this reverse-hijacking claim. Anyone with the least bit of knowledge of how domain names are set up and administered could have worked out that the domain name was not acquired in 2012. When you pay big dollars to law firms you expect them to know what they are doing in situations like this. Now that Ms Matz’s name, and her firm’s name, are up on the web associated with this debacle, they are in Google’s archives forever and prospective clients may think twice before hiring her or her firm.

  12. David Howarth says

    I’ve just read the pdf of the UDRP in its entirety. I’ve read a lot of these documents and this is the most convoluted piece of garbage I’ve ever read. It is the work of someone who clearly doesn’t understand what they are doing and someone who has very poor drafting skills. In fact, the claim is so poorly drafted that it reads like it’s been written by a primary school child. Good luck to whoever it is at WIPO that has to try and make sense of it.

    Even though WIPO is notorious in its bias towards the complainant, there is no way that this complaint won’t be thrown out. It’s a pity the defendent doesn’t take the complainant to court for harassment and distress. I had a frivolous claim against me some time ago and that’s exactly what I told the complainant I iwould do if my domain was taken off me by WIPO – he dropped his claim like a hot potato and apologised.

  13. Lolms says

    Lol David. So angry you had to make 3 replies in a row? You guys ever thought its a slick marketing move to get you talking about and visiting their website? which is exactly what you all provide 😉

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