Panelist tells complainant to go fly a kite.
A single member National Arbitration Forum panel has denied a UDRP filed on the domain name Kite.com, but has not found complainant Kite Solutions, Inc. guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
Kite Solutions just got a trademark on “Kite” last year, and Kite.com was registered in 1995. It was pretty much a slam dunk case for the domain name owner, but this case introduced some interesting discussion of what happens when a domain name is leased.
The person who registered Kite.com in 1995 leased the domain name to another entity last year. If all payments are made through 2018, the domain name will be transferred to the lessee.
So who owns the domain, and who is the correct respondent in this case?
Panelist Karl V. Fink determined that the correct respondent is Escrow.com, which has been assigned title of the domain name during the lease period. However, Fink also determined that the “owner” and the relevant date of ownership is the lessor. If the lessee fails to make its payments, the domain name will still be owned by the lessor.
Thus, Fink determined that the respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and it wasn’t registered in bad faith.
Fink decided it wasn’t a case of reverse domain name hijacking, however. I don’t understand what he means on his conclusion on this issue:
Although Complainant was not successful in this proceeding, it did establish its rights in the KITE mark and the current registration of the disputed domain name after Complainant’s registration of the mark.