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North Carolina company guilty of Reverse domain name hijacking

Company claims rights dating to 2010 and domain name was registered in 2002. But…

Personal Communication Systems, Inc of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

The company filed a UDRP against the owner of HealthWave.com. Healthwave is the name of an automated medical appointment reminder system that Personal Communication Systems sells.

It has a trademark for Healthwave, but the earliest claimed use dates to 2010. The domain name was registered in 2002.

This was the basis for the company losing the UDRP as well as being found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking:

The question before the Panel on this topic is whether the Complainant knew or should have known that it could not prove registration in bad faith at the time that it filed the Complaint. In the Panel’s opinion, the answer to that question must be in the affirmative. The content of the amended Complaint itself makes this clear. Paragraph 8 expressly sets out the date of registration of the disputed domain name, namely October 13, 2002. Paragraph 12 contains a specific averment regarding the month and year on which the Complainant is said to have adopted the use of the HEALTHWAVE mark in commerce, namely June 2010. Despite listing these dates, the Complainant makes no attempt to address the obvious issue of the lengthy intervening period between them. Nor does the Complainant attempt to demonstrate the existence of any earlier rights in its HEALTHWAVE mark. As such, the Panel considers that the Complaint was bound to fail and that the Complainant knew or ought to have known this at the point of filing.

Unfortunately for the complainant, it hired lawyers that don’t know how to look up historical whois records at DomainTools. The whois record for the domain name changed from someone in Italy to a company in Panama at the beginning of 2013.

Based on common ownership of other domain names including Premiums.com, I don’t think the owner actually changed. But pointing out this change would have probably been enough for the company to escape the reverse domain name hijacking charge.

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