Complainant makes interesting allegations in UDRP.
A three person WIPO panel has handed down a decision in a UDRP for Photo.com in a case I wrote about in October.
The complainant owns Foto.com, but there’s a lot more to the story than just a company using UDRP to go after a great domain name.
According to complainant Fotocom Société Anonyme:
Complainant contends that Respondent is actually controlled or influenced by its former Chief Executive Officer (hereinafter “Panos”). According to the Complaint, Panos was Complainant’s CEO from 2005 until 2011, and it is alleged that in 2010 Panos launched a “competing activity” under the name “Photo.com.” It is further alleged that in 2010, Panos, in his position as CEO, hired a United Kingdom law firm to pursue the acquisition the Domain Name photo.com from a domain broker. Complainant alleges that Panos was actually secretly bidding against his own company and that, in February 2010, the Domain Name was sold for USD 1,250,000 to a company, xxlpix Limited, controlled by Panos. Complainant even alleges that the purchase price for the Domain Name Panos surreptitiously acquired was actually financed by Complainant’s money, through the “illegal diversion” of company funds “through illegal offshore mechanisms.”
If that was the case, the current domain name owner says it had nothing to do with that past purchase.
Photography company motiondrive AG says it acquired the domain name via domain broker DomainHoldings for over 1 million euros in 2012.
It appears that Photo.com has sold for over a million dollars twice in the past five years.
motiondrive AG claims Fotocom is engaged in “a delusional crusade”; Fotocom still believes Panos is the owner of the domain name.
The panel denied the complaint. Even if Fotocom’s allegations are true, they aren’t the type of issue a UDRP panel addresses.