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The Simple Dollar is a reverse domain name hijacker

Personal Finance site tried to get shorter domain name through cybersquatting complaint.

thesimpledollarThe Simple Dollar is a website that dishes out personal finance advice. Don’t expect the site to offer domain name advice anytime soon.

Soda LLC, owner of the site, has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name SimpleDollar.com. It’s a better domain than the one the site has: TheSimpleDollar.com.

How Soda LLC’s law firm DuBois, Bryant & Campbell, LLP decided to take this case is beyond me.

The owner of SimpleDollar.com registered it in 2000. TheSimpleDollar.com website wasn’t launched until 2006.

That makes it impossible to prove the domain was registered in bad faith.

As some lawyers do, Soda’s lawyers tried to throw in the Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows case. That case was very different from this one.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, the World Intellectual Property Organization panel wrote:

Had Complainant considered prudently the elements of bad faith under the third element of the Policy, and done its homework regarding the Telstra case on which Complainant relied, Complainant should have been able to determine easily that the circumstances in this case differ fundamentally from those in Telstra, and there could be no finding of bad faith. In particular, (i) Respondent registered the Domain Name consisting of two descriptive words six years prior to Complainant’s earliest use of its unregistered THE SIMPLE DOLLAR mark, as compared to the registration of the domain name in Telstra in the face of Telstra’s pre-existing well-known TELSTRA trademark rights, and (ii) there were no indications in this case of special circumstances such as those giving rise to bad faith use in Telstra (e.g., hiding identity and using false contact details in relation to passive holding).

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  1. J. Curious says

    Have attorneys DuBois, Bryant & Campbell ever done a UDRP case before? Did a search on Google for “DuBois, Bryant & Campbell WIPO” and “DuBois, Bryant & Campbell UDRP” but couldn’t find anything.

    Surely this cannot be their first UDRP case.

    Bad luck for their client Soda LLC that DuBois, Bryant & Campbell lost the case and that now Soda LLC (THEsimpledollar.com) is known as a Reverse Domain Name Hijacker.

  2. C.S. Watch says

    Delusional complainant and unethical attorney. Present. The third leg in these perfect storms is always a ‘rebrand.’

    1) TheSimpleDollar.com has been ridiculed before for being two Nikes short of a comet ride: http://www.controlyourcash.com/2011/12/07/the-insufferable-simple-dollar/. Harmless enough, but then Soda LLC bought the site in 2013. As it says on SODA LLC’s site in bold font, ‘WE COMPETE.’ That means, apparently, ‘we try to take.’ One can’t be craven and stupid both, it’s not a good look. A man’s got to know his limitations.

    2) DuBois, Bryant & Campbell—what kind of law firm violates a federal statute? The kind of law firm that helps a couple of feral yuppies starve a 75yo grandma to death! http://nearsay.com/c/76596/27362/75-year-old-grandmother-eva-lahera-fights-for-her-rights. Unbelievable. Who manages PR for DuBois? Martin Shkreli?

  3. Andrew Rosener says

    Andrew – you are wrong on this one. This was actually a lazy submission by the attorney but SODA LLC (my client by the way) had every right to file a UDRP on this domain. A simple search in the Wayback Machine shows numerous bad faith PPC links which clearly infringe on TheSimpleDollar’s common law marks – which by the way the panelist granted and agreed they possess!

    The ONLY reason they did not win this case is because their attorney failed to demonstrate the bad faith that did clearly exist.

    #1. Owner has not used the domain in over a decade and during that time has had numerous PPC links on the domain which clearly infringe on The Simple Dollar marks.

    #2. We made numerous attempts to acquire SimpleDollar.com from owner over the last 18 months. We offered, in good faith, $10,000 to owner to which he replied that he needed more money. We subsequently offered $25,000 to which he still says he needed more money. He was aware of TheSimpleDollar and their marks, but TSD’s attorney failed to include these communications in the UDRP filing for reasons I will never understand. He also failed to include the screenshots of the infringing PPC links.

    #3. Current owner of the domain is NOT the original owner despite his claims. He acquired the domain from previous owner in February of 2012 but the domain remained under privacy on both sides of the transaction. He ONLY acquired the domain because he was aware of TheSimpleDollar.com and its growth and success.

    Be careful about celebrating an RDNH ruling before understanding the players and the facts. The good guy lost in this case. And the ruling was WRONG. This should have been a slam dunk case.

    • Andrew Allemann says

      Andrew, what domain are you looking at? I’m looking at the historical whois for SimpleDollar.com. It goes back to 2007, and at all times shows the same owner and no whois privacy.

      • Andrew Rosener says

        Sorry, my apologies, I was wrong about the ownership part, but none the less, bad faith has been clearly demonstrated – it just wasn’t included in the UDRP submission.

        • Andrew Allemann says

          It has to be bad faith at the time of registration. I know you wouldn’t argue for the requirement being bad faith at any time; that would put a lot of domain names at jeopardy because someone acquired a trademark later.

    • Superna says

      quote: “This was actually a lazy submission by the attorney”.

      How dare you. How very dare you call the attorney in this case DuBois, Bryant & Campbell LAZY!

      DuBois, Bryant & Campbell are at the pinnacle of their profession. The attorneys of DuBois, Bryant & Campbell were trained and tested in some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious law firms, bringing a wealth of knowledge and years of insight to each and every client engagement.

      As you say “The ONLY reason they did not win this case is because their attorney failed to demonstrate the bad faith that did clearly exist “

      OK, maybe DuBois, Bryant & Campbell made a few mistakes in their submission, but no harm has been done. TheSimpleDollar’s customers are hardly likely to be aware of all these domain name issues. So get over it!

      • Andrew Rosener says

        Actually that is not the case. A LOT of harm has been done. My reputation has been flawed with my client and The Simple Dollar is not able to acquire its preferred domain name SimpleDollar.com – all of which is directly tied to the poorly handled UDRP submission. So how dare you anonymously defend the attorney in this case without any support whatsoever.

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