Generic domain investors are “free to set the prices [they] deem reasonable”.
Domain name investor Merlin Kauffman, with the help of attorney John Berryhill, has successfully defended his domain name FiberStar.com in a UDRP.
The case was filed by Fiberstar, Inc., a fiber supplements company that uses the matching .net domain name.
There are two notable things about this case.
First, Kauffman’s parking of the domain name helped his case. The domain is parked with ad topics related to the internet connotation of “fiber”. Even if the ads had been related to fiber in the nutritional sense, this would show legitimate interests in the domain for advertising services. But in this case, the ads also helped clarify the issue of targeting the complainant.
Second, the panel confirmed that owners of generic domain names can set whatever price they want:
Complainant’s assertion that Respondent’s sale price of $35,000 for the disputed domain name is evidence of bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(i) fails also. Complainant’s mark, FIBERSTAR, is composed of two common words, “fiber” and “star” and, as Complainant contends, fits within up to 15,000 generic-word domain names that are owned by Respondent. Moreover, Complainant admits that it initiated negotiation over price by first contacting Respondent in connection with purchase of the disputed domain name. Since, as reasoned above, there is no sustainable evidence that Respondent acquired the disputed domain name in bad faith, Respondent, as a legitimate reseller of generic-word domain names, is free to set the prices he deems reasonable for names in his inventory.