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Payments company commits reverse domain name hijacking

LeuPay company tries to hijack domain rather than pay for it.

A Bulgarian payments company has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in a cybersquatting dispute over the domain name LeoPay.com.

iCard AD offers services under the name LeuPay and is getting ready to start using the name LeoPay instead, according to the WIPO decision.

The owner of LeoPay.com has owned the domain name since well before the complainant had trademark rights in either LeuPay or LeoPay. He also used the domain name.

But iCard went after it anyway, making claims like “retroactive bad faith” and claiming the domain owner didn’t have a legitimate interest in the domain despite his use of it.

Panelist Sebastian Hughes did a nice summary of why this case qualifies as reverse domain name hijacking:

(i) The Complainant is represented and should be held to a higher standard than an unrepresented complainant;

(ii) The disputed domain name was registered well before the Complainant obtained relevant trade mark rights;

(iii) Reasonably diligent enquiries by the Complainant and the Complainant’s representatives would have provided evidence of the Respondent’s rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name;

(iv) The assertions in Section C of the Complaint that the Respondent has made no use of the disputed domain name at all, which are contradicted by the submissions in Section B that “the domain name indeed leads to a website that contains numerous links to other websites in Chinese or English language”;

(v) The Complainant’s representatives have unreasonably ignored established Policy precedent set out in WIPO Overview 3.0, in particular in seeking to assert “retroactive” bad faith registration; and

(vi) The manner in which the Complainant’s representatives sought to obtain evidence of bad faith by anonymous email solicitation.

The Panel further finds that, in light of the above factors and in all the circumstances, the following submissions included in Section A of the Complaint highlight the ill-founded nature of the Complaint, and provide further support for a finding of reverse domain name hijacking:

“The Complainant intends to concentrate all its activities, in the near future, under the brand “LEOPAY”, and therefore to make an extensive use of the trade mark LEOPAY and domain names leopay.eu, leopay.uk, leopay.fr, leopay.ch, leopay.nl, and leopay.us”.

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