Bad decision in a three-letter .com UDRP.
I just wrote about PCO.com being saved in a UDRP despite the domain name owner not responding. This was before I saw a similar case in which a three-letter domain name was lost in a UDRP.
National Arbitration Forum panelist Neil Anthony Brown QC has ordered the domain name IMI.com transferred to Irving Materials, Inc.
Brown generally provides a nuanced and well-reasoned opinion in UDRPs, and I’m surprised by the result here.
To be fair, the domain owner didn’t respond. Still, a quick look at the facts of the case strongly suggest this was not cybersquatting and the domain was not registered in bad faith.
It appears the current owner is the original registrant from 1994. Its business was originally called Internet Marketing, Inc., hence the domain name choice IMI.com. It subsequently moved its business to PartnerVision.org.
IMI.com resolves to a page headlined “Internet Marketing Inc a PartnerVision venture”. It says the company has changed domain names and then says “Searching for other IMI Companies, try these:” followed by a list of other companies that use the IMI acronym. These links are clearly not paid links, despite the complainant arguing that they are pay-per-click links leading to companies that compete with the complainant.
The complainant latches on to a page on the site that says the domain names are for sale. It states:
PartnerVision Ventures is winding down IMI’s liquidation sale. All of the company’s patents and other intellectual property are now gone. The only assets left within the company are it’s popular domain names (www.IMI.com) and (www.IMI.info).
With brand identity coming at a premium these days, you can image what the value of such a name will bring. If you are interested in purchasing this domain, please contact us.
Note: Offers less than two million dollars will not be considered.
Selling domain names you used for your company is a perfectly legitimate activity.
Again, it didn’t help that the domain owner didn’t show up to defend its property. My guess is the owner isnt’ even aware of the complaint. Still, the panelist in this case is well aware of the differences between pay-per-click and other links and also understands the value of domain names. I’m shocked by the decision. It’s this type of decision that gives companies the hope of getting valuable domains through UDRPs, creating a sort of vicious cycle.
Hopefully the owner will fight this decision.