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Reverse domain name hijacking over OpalShop.com domain name

Panelist finds the complaint was brought to harass a known competitor.

Picture of masked man with the words reverse domain name hijacking

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found Mighty Men Pty Ltd, trading as Opalshop, to have attempted reverse domain name hijacking for the domain OpalShop.com. The company uses the domain OpalShop.com.au.

OpalShop.com was technically registered to a dissolved company, but the owner of that company controls the domain.

Panelist John Swinson found that the Complainant didn’t show that the domain was confusingly similar to a trademark for which it had rights, and also that the domain was not registered and used in bad faith.

The Complainant failed to disclose prior communications with the Respondent, including an offer to buy the domain last year.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, Swinson wrote:

It appears to the Panel that the Complainant has omitted material evidence from the Complaint. For example, according to the Response, the Complainant made an offer to buy the Disputed Domain Name from the Respondent in 2019. The Complaint is silent on this. The Complaint misrepresents the Chinese trade mark application as a word mark, and also did not make it clear to the Panel that the application had not proceeded to registration. The Complaint has also been drafted in a way that gives the impression that the Complainant does not know who is operating the website at the Disputed Domain Name, when (according to the Response) there have been various prior dealings between the Parties.

The Panel’s view is that the Complainant is seeking to use the UDRP to attempt to opportunistically obtain a domain name that has been legitimately used for over 20 years in connection with its ordinary meaning. The Complainant’s conduct verges on bad faith, appears to have been brought to harass a known competitor, and in the Panel’s view constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.

Both parties represented themselves in the proceedings.

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