Panelist says no reverse domain name hijacking because domain owner didn’t respond to purchase inquiries.
Today’s “WTF, why isn’t this reverse domain name hijacking” case comes courtesy of panelist Alistair Payne and Czech Arbitration Court (CAC).
The case was filed by the proprietor of French trademarks for “ikase” against the domain name iKase.com.
The domain was registered six years before the complainant claimed any rights in the “ikase” mark, so the panel rightfully determined that it was impossible the domain was registered and used in bad faith.
Yet Payne let’s the complainant Yvan Taieb off the hook for RDNH because he didn’t receive any responses to his purchase inquiries for the domain:
The Complainant must have or at the least should have known that the Respondent had registered the Disputed Domain Name approximately six years prior to its trademark registrations. However, the Panel notes that the Complainant tried several times to contact the Respondent in order to purchase the Disputed Domain Name but received no response (the Panel notes that the only evidence to this effect before it is an email dated 28 November 2013 from Mr Taibe’s lawyer to firstname.lastname@example.org and a letter from Mr Taibe’s lawyer dated 16 January 2014 to WHOIS Privacy Services).
In these circumstances there is, in the Panel’s view, nevertheless a reasonable explanation for the Complainant filing its complaint, as it most probably seemed to the Complainant to be the only way that it could contact the Respondent. In these particular circumstances, the Panel is therefore prepared to give the Complainant the benefit of the doubt and considers that, on balance, the Complaint was made in frustration at not having received a response to the Complainant’s attempts to contact the Respondent and therefore the requirements for reverse domain name hijacking have not been made out.
The fact that the complainant tried to buy the domain first and resorted to UDRP later is even more proof that the complainant did not feel the respondent was actually cybersquatting.
Domain owners have no duty to respond to a domain inquiry. And given where the panel says the email and letter was sent, I doubt the domain owner even got it.