California clothing company lost UDRP and the panelist could have been a lot tougher on it.
A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has denied LYMI, Inc.’s (d.b.a. Reformation) cybersquatting complaint against the owner of Reformation.com, but it also let the company off the hook without considering reverse domain name hijacking.
Reformation uses the domain name TheReformation.com. Beyond the obvious desire of owning Reformation.com, the clothier is also concerned because the content at Reformation.com is about sexual abuse in the church.
Still, that doesn’t mean the owner of Reformation.com is cybersquatting. On the contrary, the domain name is a dictionary term being used in a way that makes a lot of sense.
Reformation.com was registered in 1996. Although the domain name owner didn’t respond to the dispute, it certainly appears that he or she owned the domain name prior to the clothing company adopting the Reformation name.
It’s basically a dead-on-arrival cybersquatting complaint.
Nevertheless, panelist Christopher Gibson let Reformation off easy in two ways.
First, he found (narrowly) in Reformation’s favor on the issue of rights or legitimate interests. Sure, the domain owner didn’t respond, but isn’t it clear from the use of the domain that the owner had a legitimate interest in the domain? It’s not rocket science. Gibson noted that he found narrowly in the complainant’s favor on this issue in part because it wasn’t the determining factor since the domain was obviously not registered and used in bad faith.
Second, Gibson didn’t consider reverse domain name hijacking. Even though the respondent didn’t put forth arguments (and, thus, didn’t ask for reverse domain name hijacking) this is what I’d view as an obvious instance of it. I understand the clothing company’s frustration about not being able to own this domain name, but a cybersquatting complaint under UDRP is an inappropriate use of the policy.