Panelist calls the complaint “patently deficient.”
UDRP panelists usually don’t find reverse domain name hijacking if a Complainant represents themselves. But World Intellectual Property Organization panelist Scott Blackmer decided it was warranted in a recent case.
Structure Cellars, which operates a wine tasting room in Seattle, filed a complaint against HouseofPagne.com (short for Champagne).
The registrant of the domain says she registered it and pitched the Complainant on an idea for a business. The two didn’t end up partnering on the venture. There’s a bit of he said, she said and there might be a legitimate dispute outside of the scope of UDRP.
But that dispute doesn’t warrant a cybersquatting dispute.
Blackmer noted that, even without counsel, the Complainant should have realized it was filing a bad case:
Here, the Complaint is patently deficient. The Complainant has trademark applications, not registrations, and it would need proof to establish common law rights. The Complaint does not address the obvious problem that the Complainant’s business was launched months after the Respondent registered the Domain Name. It should have been clear that if (sic) would be necessary to establish the relationship between the parties, but no evidence was submitted on this point. The Complainant is not represented by legal counsel, but these are common-sense rather than highly technical issues, and the Center’s forms, Rules, and Overview provide accessible guidance on these points. The Respondent, who is also not represented by counsel, certainly grasped their implication when completing the Center’s form Response…
…The Complainant may have a business dispute with the Respondent, but the Complainant should not have pursued a remedy designed only to protect trademark rights when it was not prepared to prove that it has such rights and that the Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in contemplation of the Complainant’s trademark rights. This is so fundamental to the Policy that it must be considered irresponsible to ignore.