Brewery makes “blatant and intentional misrepresentation”, panelist says.
Craft brewer Flying Dog Brewery has been found by a World Intellectual Property Organization panel to have attempted reverse domain name hijacking.
The brewery uses the domain name FlyingDogBrewery.com but wants the domain name FlyingDog.com. That domain was registered in 1996 and used by its owner to promote his software company for many years.
The brewery first tried to buy the domain name in 2001. It invited the domain owner to tour the brewery and made a $19,000 offer to buy the domain. The owner declined.
Then, earlier this year, a broker reached out to the domain owner working on behalf of an unnamed client. He offered $15,000 for the domain. The domain owner declined and asked for $225,000. Shortly thereafter, Flying Dog Brewery filed the UDRP.
Amazingly, the Complainant stated in the filing that the Respondent retained an agent to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant, even though it was clearly the Complainant that initiated the discussion.
Panelist William Towns wrote:
The Complainant could easily have discovered from a brief Internet search the Respondent’s historical use the disputed domain name before filing the Complaint…The Complainant either did not do so, or having done so elected to conceal from the Panel known facts unfavorable to the Complainant. The Complainant submitted a barebones complaint unsupported by any evidence, and blatantly misrepresented to the Panel that the Respondent had hired an undisclosed agent seeking to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant at an exorbitant price. The record, however, confirms that it was the Complainant who retained a domain name broker. The Complainant’s blatant and intentional misrepresentation as described above constitutes a clear violation of section XIII, paragraph 21 of the Complaint.
The brewery was represented by Offit│Kurman. The domain owner was represented by Thomas P. Howard LLC.