Domain transfer (that didn’t actually happen) resets the clock for registration date.
My Art, a French company that operates the website My-Art.com, has convinced a Czech Arbitration Court UDRP panelist to order the transfer of the domain name MyArt.com.
This is the second time My Art has filed a UDRP against the domain name.
My Art lost a case it filed in 2011 because the registrant of the domain name had registered it in 1996, well before the company had a trademark on the name.
It refiled its case by falsely claiming that the domain name was transferred to a new owner after the first case was decided. The transfer counts as a “new registration”, changing the registrant’s registration date to after My Art got its trademark.
It filed the first case when the domain name was under whois privacy. The domain owner name is now disclosed, but a look at historical whois records shows that it’s the same person who owned the domain when the first UDRP was filed.
Technically, the trademark is for “My-Art”, which jives with the company’s current web address.
Although the domain owner did himself a disservice by not responding to the complaint, I still think this is a questionable decision even if the domain had changed hands. The panelist didn’t even deliberate on the simple fact that this is a generic domain. It’s quite clear that My Art chose the hyphenated domain because the non-hyphenated one was taken. Someone registering a trademark similar to a generic or descriptive domain you registered a long time ago shouldn’t be able place a restriction on selling the domain to someone else.
[Update: this story has been updated to show that the domain didn’t actually change hands. Thanks to Nat Cohen for pointing this out.]