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Wirecard nailed for Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Big payments company abused UDRP policy to try to get valuable domain name for cheap.

Publicly traded payments company Wirecard AG has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name Boon.com.

The company, which has a market capitalization of 4.37 billion euros, filed a UDRP after failing to acquire the domain name Boon.com for a future payments services brand.

In its complaint, Wirecard mentioned that it has been around since 1999 and had 2013 turnover of about a half billion euros. What it failed to mention, but domain name owner Nat Cohen of Telepathy discovered, is that its interest in boon.com is much more recent: it is preparing to launch a contactless payment system for Android this year. It secured the domain name BoonPayment.com for that service.

Wirecard tried to buy Boon.com through SecuredOffers.com, a service that requires a payment and acknowledgement of lack of trademark rights in order to submit an offer. It offered just $500, and Telepathy responded that it had already received an offer of $75,000 for the domain name.

Among Wirecard’s amusing allegations (as written in the decision):

“The Respondent’s offer to sell the disputed domain name for USD 75,000-100,000 shows that the Respondent’s only intention was to fraudulently transfer the disputed domain name to the highest bidder.”

“As the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name, so far as the Complainant is aware, the Respondent is thereby proven merely to have a financial interest in the disputed domain name.”

“It is evident that the Respondent is a professional “domain grabber” who has only registered the disputed domain name in bad faith to sell the highest bidder.”

Professional domain grabber? That’s a new one.

Cohen, who represented himself in the case, noted:

“The Complainant undertook this case not because it is a victim of cybersquatting but because it covets the disputed domain name for its newly announced service.”

The three person panel found Wirecard to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in this case. The panel noted that Wirecard AG made unfounded claims despite being represented by counsel at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP.

Among the panel’s reasons for finding that Wirecard filed the case in abuse of the UDRP policy was that:

The Complainant referred to its alleged extensive trading activity and turnover but omitted to mention that none of this related to “boon”, the trade mark at issue in this case and that the Complainant’s apparent venture relating to that trade mark had not yet even been launched. The Complainant should have been open about this fact.

Wirecard AG Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

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  1. kd says

    If I were Nat my price just went up tenfold. They clearly want this. And clearly have the capital to pay for it. Even more, the complainant just tried to steal this asset from him. Great win Nat. Easy win. But still great!

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