Self-represented domain owner didn’t request RDNH finding but panelist granted it.
Brand Development Corp of Miami, Florida has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in a cybersquatting dispute it brought against the owner of dermarose.com, dermarose.info, dermarose.net and dermarose.org.
Brand Development Corp has a skincare line called Dermarose and uses the domain name dermaroseskincare.com.
The dates in this case are a bit interesting and I wonder how Brand Development Corp argued the case. The decision is very short on details.
Brand Development Corp applied for a trademark on 6/23/13 on an intent-to-use basis. By the time this became a registration the mark claims a first use date of 2/12/13, which is prior to the date it filed saying it hadn’t used it yet.
The owner of the domain names, Zora Hajali of Wilmington, Delaware, registered the domain names on December 22, 2012.
So, on the face of it and considering the trademark that was eventually registered, there’s no way the owner could have known about Brand Development’s plans.
However, Brand Development filed a trademark for Dermarose Skin Revitalized on November 16, 2012. That intent-to-use trademark application was abandoned. This means it’s possible that the registrant knew about the company’s plans, but it’s unclear if the complainant made this argument or even brought up its initial abandoned application.
In finding reverse domain name hijacking, panelist Robert A. Badgley wrote:
The Panel also notes that Complainant asserted, with absolutely no factual support, that there are “circumstances indicating” that Respondent’s chief motivation in registering the Domain Names was to sell them to “the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant.” This baseless allegation, coupled with the impossibility of this Complaint succeeding [because the domains were registered before the trademark was used], would supply valid grounds for a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (“RDNH”) against Complainant. Although Respondent did not request an RDNH finding, the Panel makes one.