Your cable company might be a reverse domain name hijacker.
Charter Communications, which does business as Spectrum, has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in a cybersquatting dispute it brought against the owner of MySpectrumNews.com.
Based on the decision, it appears that Spectrum tried to acquire this domain name that was registered well before it created the Spectrum brand. When acquisition talks didn’t go where the company hoped, it filed a UDRP.
Not only did the owner of MySpectrumNews.com register the domain before Charter’s Spectrum brand was introduced, but they actually put the domain name to use.
Spectrum argued that the domain name was renewed in bad faith. Even though that argument didn’t go anywhere, it turns out that the domain name hasn’t even been renewed since the Spectrum brand was introduced. A quick look at historical Whois records show that was renewed in 2011 for a day in late 2017.
A unanimous three-member World Intellectual Property Organization panel wrote:
Complainants should have known that Respondent’s original use of the disputed domain name in the manner outlined above was likely to prove fatal to their prospects in this proceeding. Complainants’ reliance on the “update date” as the date of Respondent’s renewal was fundamentally wrong. The Panel might overlook this mistake were it not the primary pillar of Complainants’ bad faith contention, causing the Panel concern that Complainants knew or should have known that they had built their case on an erroneous factual premise.
Furthermore, before launching this case, Complainants engaged in lengthy and detailed negotiations with Respondent to buy the disputed domain name. Frustrated by these negotiations, Complainants strained too hard to find a theory, making erroneous assertions of fact regarding the renewal date their central contention and lobbing baseless allegations (such as the false contact assertion) in an effort to achieve via the UDRP what they could not achieve by negotiation.
I’m shocked that Charter and its attorneys at Loeb & Loeb, LLP filed this dispute.