Owner of EcoSmart filed cybersquatting dispute in abuse of policy.
A National Arbitration Forum panelist has found Kittrich Corporation, owner of a line of pest control products called EcoSmart, to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name EcoSmartPestControl.com.
While the complainant has been using the term EcoSmart for its products for a long time, the respondent’s predecessor-in-interest has been using it for longer for its pest control business in Hawaii.
The panelist ruled that the Hawaiin business had rights or legitimate interests in the domain name based on its long-running use of the name for its own pest control services.
Panelist Dennis A. Foster also determined that Kittrich Corporation was guilty of reverse domain name hijacking for filing the case. As it turns out, the domain owner’s lawyer had previous correspondence with EcoSmart about trademarks and had offered to prove its rights in the mark pre-dating the complainant’s. It’s a bit more complicated than that, however. That correspondence occurred a month before Kittrich acquired EcoSmart, so it’s possible that it wasn’t aware of the communications.
Foster said this isn’t an excuse:
The Panel notes that Complainant acquired its predecessor in interest in November, 2014, about a month after said letter exchange, but this does not absolve Complainant from having made a bad faith filing in the Panel’s view. UDRP complaints should not be filed in a careless or frivolous manner, but should result from a careful examination of facts and history, including the prior communications and demands of a complainant’s predecessor(s) in interest.
Foster also noted that it didn’t take much effort to determine that the domain owner had rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and that Kittrich should have easily come to the same conclusion.