Company filed a UDRP to try to get the unhyphenated version of its domain name.
Farming technology company AgSpace Agriculture Limited has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in its effort to get the domain name AgSpace.com. It uses the domain Ag-Space.com.
The company threatened the owner of the domain prior to filing a UDRP with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It urged the owner to accept a trivial cash offer or it would face a UDRP.
The domain owner, who registered the domain in 1998 (well before the Complainant existed) told the Complainant that it didn’t have a case.
But AgSpace filed the dispute anyway, and the panelist had an easy time finding that the case was filed in abuse of the policy.
Panelist Flip Jan Claude Petillion noted that:
In the present case, the Complainant expressly acknowledges in its Complaint that “the Disputed Domain Name was registered prior to the registration of AgSpace Agriculture limited”. The Complainant further provides “our case is based principally on the fact that the Respondent has no bona fide or legitimate use of the domain name of our trademark and has refused to release the domain or respond to our offer to meet the respondent’s reasonable out-of-pocket costs related to the domain”.
The panelist determined that AgSpace failed to show that the domain registrant lacked rights or legitimate interests in the domain and that it failed to show that it was registered in bad faith. In finding reverse domain name hijacking, the WIPO panelist wrote:
The mere lack of success of a complaint is not in itself sufficient for a finding of RDNH. In the present case, however, the Complainant knew it could not succeed as to the second and third element of the Policy as the Complainant had clear knowledge of the Respondent’s commercial identity corresponding to the Disputed Domain Name and the lack of bad faith by the Respondent. The Complainant expressly acknowledged that it knew that the Respondent had registered the Disputed Domain Name well before the Complainant had established its business or acquired its trademark rights. As a result, the Complainant clearly ought to have known it could not succeed under any fair interpretation of facts reasonably available prior to the filing of the Complaint. The website connected to the Disputed Domain Name has also never made reference to, let alone target, the Complainant or its mark and there are no indicia that would demonstrate that the Respondent intended to disrupt the Complainant’s business or create confusion with the Complainant’s trademark for commercial gain (see section 4.16, WIPO Overview 3.0).