Bottled water company guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
Chuan Sin Sdn. Bhd of Taiping, Perak, Malaysia has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in its attempt to get the domain name Spritzer.com through a UDRP.
The complainant operates a bottled water company and uses the domain name Spritzer.com.my. (A “spritzer” in most parts of the world is a drink made of wine and carbonated water.)
It tried to get a trademark for “spritzer” in the United States but was denied. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office ultimately ruled it was “deceptively misdescriptive”.
It then filed the UDRP to get the Spritzer.com domain name and didn’t inform the panel about its failed trademark attempts.
The panel ruled in favor of domain owner Reflex Publishing on the grounds that it did not register the domain name in 1998 in bad faith.
It went a step further and found “Spritzer” guilty of reverse domain name hijacking. The panel was not asked to find RDNH, but it noted that panels should consider RDNH when it is warranted.
The three person panel wrote:
When the Complainant filed the Complaint, the Complainant knew that there was no proper basis for the Complaint yet it went ahead and filed the Complaint. This alone merits a finding of RDNH … In so doing the Complainant knew that it was accusing an innocent registrant of dishonesty (bad faith) in the hope that it could deprive the Respondent of the Disputed Domain Name. Moreover, the Complainant knew that if the Respondent were to retain the Disputed Domain Name, the Respondent would have to spend time and money and in all likelihood employ representation to defend itself. The Complainant also knew that even if it lost the case, it would not be called upon to compensate the Respondent.
There is another basis for a finding of RDNH. When the Complaint was filed the Complainant knew that the certificate of truth was false.
Reflex was represented by John Berryhill.