Virgin takes the low road and is nailed for reverse domain name hijacking.
HugeDomains has successfully defended its domain name VirginLiving.com against an attack by Virgin Enterprises, and Virgin has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in the case.
Virgin failed to prove any of the three elements required to win a cybersquatting case under UDRP.
HugeDomains.com successfully argued that Virgin doesn’t have complete control over every word attached to Virgin. HugeDomains owns 750 domain names that begin with the word “virgin” and over 1,600 domain names that end with the word “living”, all of them being combinations of two dictionary terms.
Virgin Enterprises recently filed an intent-to-use trademark application for Virgin Living and then discovered that HugeDomains owns the domain name and has it listed for sale for $4,795.
Rather than buying the generic domain name, Virgin filed a UDRP with misleading evidence and stated that “no one party can legitimately own over 3.5 million domains. The Respondent is a cybersquatter on an industrial scale.”
The panel found that, indeed, a company can legitimately own 3.5 million domain names. It also found that Virgin submitted misleading evidence about HugeDomain’s portfolio of domains that being with “virgin”:
In this case, the Panel considers that the Complainant must have realized that the disputed domain name was one out of many combinations of descriptive words which the Respondent in its capacity of a domainer registered. The Complainant cannot monopolize all combinations of dictionary words with the term “virgin”, for which reason the Complainant filed the Application, which is identical to the disputed domain name, shortly before submitting the Complaint. The Complainant attempted to mislead the Panel on several occasions by presenting information as fact, which at closer examination was misleading or untrue. For instance, the Panel found the Complainant’s allegation that the Respondent has in actual fact registered over 1,000 domain names containing the Complainant’s VIRGIN brand which would constitute evidence of a pattern of bad faith, to be untrue as the list submitted by the Complainant in support of the allegation consisted mainly of combinations of the term “Virginia” with another dictionary word, while the domain names which include the term “virgin” seem generally to use the term in the dictionary sense of a person who has never had sexual intercourse. Also, the Complainant’s claim that “no one party can legitimately own over 3.5 million domains. The Respondent is a cybersquatter on an industrial scale” was unsupported and as such made an unjust connection between the ownership of domain names as such and cybersquatting, which the Complainant could not show.
The lack of convincing evidence and the Complainant’s failure to fully address the requirements under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy demonstrate that the Complainant was likely aware that it did not have a legitimate case against the Respondent, and filed the Complaint with the primary intent of obtaining the transfer of the disputed domain name in bad faith against no consideration. This is supported by the fact that the Complainant only filed the Application with the intention to use, but not after having it used and without any proper explanation why the Complainant would need this mark just before the Complainant filed the Complaint. The Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant did this in a misguided attempt to bolster or lend legitimacy to the Complaint. The Complainant was legally represented and should have known that it would be unable to satisfy all the elements required under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy