This sure seems like an abuse of policy to me.
I just read the decision in a UDRP for SecretLab.com and TheSecretLab.com and I’m flumoxed as to why WIPO panelist Clive L. Elliott didn’t consider reverse domain name hijacking. The Respondent might not have asked for it, but Elliott still should have considered it.
1. The Respondent registered the domain names some 16 years before the Complainant existed.
2. The Complainant offered $20,000 for the domains before filing the UDRP.
3. According to the respondent, “Complainant contacted Respondent after the commencement of this proceeding and indicated that the proceeding was instituted to help Complainant gain leverage in its efforts to buy the Domain Names.”
That’s an abuse of policy if I’ve ever seen one. I mean, check out this part of the Complainant’s argument:
Complainant considers Respondent has registered and is continuing to hold and use the Domain Names in bad faith, having not used the Domain Names for over 20 years, and with the specific intent to take advantage of inadvertent mistakes by the Internet.
Complainant goes on to assert that there is no evidence that the Domain Names have been used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, and nor is Respondent making a legitimate noncommercial nor fair use of the Domain Names.
Complainant submits that this disrupts Complainant’s business and frustrates Complainant’s customers, or potential customers, who, not realising their mistake, are apt to blame Complainant for not having the web presence they expected when they reach the landing page.
This is a classic case of a company wanting to get domain names that were registered before it existed. It tried to buy them but got frustrated and filed a UDRP.