WIPO panelist makes a questionable decision.
World Intellectual Property Organization panelist Warwick A. Rothnie has determined that the owner of BTSA.com is cybersquatting and that the domain should be transferred to BTSA Biotecnologias Aplicadas, S.L.
Rothnie’s decision is surprising. You can make a good argument that this was actually a case of attempted reverse domain name hijacking.
It’s a bit convoluted because the domain name is financed by Domain Capital. Rothnie decided that the financing company is the true owner of the domain, which it financed in 2014. But the fact is that the beneficial owner registered the domain in 2003.
Although the Complainant says it existed prior to that, it didn’t register a domain for its website until 2004.
The Complainant has a registered trademark for BTSA BIOTECNOLOGÍAS APLICADAS as a figurative mark. Rothnie found this confusingly similar to the BTSA.com domain name.
What’s quite clear from reading the decision is that the beneficial owner of the domain acquired the domain for its value as a four letter domain, and that is how Domain Capital likely financed it. The decision says the domain was parked but did not show ads related to the Complainant.
That’s not cybersquatting.
The Complainant says it first discovered the use of BTSA.com when it decided to set up a subsidiary in the United States. It tried to acquire the domain and that failed. It then filed the UDRP.
I’d make an argument that this is a case of Plan B reverse domain name hijacking, not cybersquatting.
If nothing else, it’s not a clear case of cybersquatting and I believe Rothnie made the wrong decision.