Panelist Clive Elliot’s standard for RDNH would allow a lot of frivolous cases.
A complainant in a UDRP cybersquatting dispute must prove three things:
1. The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark
2. The domain owner does not have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name
3. The domain owner registered and used the domain in bad faith
A panelist can find that a complaint was brought in abuse of the policy, aka reverse domain name hijacking (RDNH), if he or she believes the complaint was brought in bad faith, such as to harass the domain name owner, or if it knew it couldn’t succeed on the merits of the case.
The Sinclair Group Nevada, LLC just lost a case to Stanford professor, author and leadership consultant Behnam Tabrizi over the domain name RapidTransformation.com.
A quick Google search shows that Tabrizi has rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and didn’t register it in bad faith to infringe on Sinclair Group’s trademark for Rapid Transformation. He released a book in 2007 called Rapid Transformation!
Just looking at the content at RapidTransformation.com, which shows that Tabrizi’s company is called Rapid Transformation, LLC, makes this abundantly clear.
Panelist Clive Elliott QC sided with Tabrizi in the dispute, determining that Sinclair Group only proved the first element of its case.
But Elliot declined to find reverse domain name hijacking, using a very weak interpretation:
“In the present case Complainant has succeeded on one ground and in the Panel’s view that entitled it to bring this complaint.”
Showing that you have a trademark, even if it’s abundantly clear you can’t prove the other elements, entitles a company to bring a UDRP? That would eliminate almost all RDNH cases.