World Intellectual Property Panelist finds that the company committed reverse domain name hijacking.
Tecme S.A., a company in Argentina that manufactures ventilators used in hospital intensive care units, has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name Tecme.com. The company uses tecmeglobal.com for its web presence.
Tecme.com is registered to Stephen Bougourd of Jersey. He started a Quickbooks consulting business called Technology Made Easy in 1996 and registered Tecme.com in 2000. He used the domain name to promote his business for a while before changing the name of his business.
The complainant said it was established in 1966, but didn’t provide evidence of activity using the Tecme name prior to its trademark registrations, which are all in 2010 or later.
Regardless of the dates, it is clear that the domain registrant acquired the domain because it was shorthand for his business name, and that he used the domain in good faith for his business.
Bougourd didn’t hire a lawyer and didn’t ask for a reverse domain name hijacking finding. But panelist Scott Blackmer determined that it was warranted:
The Complainant here was fully aware that its trademark registrations postdated the Domain Name registration, on the other side of the world, by a decade. Yet the Complainant neglected to submit evidence to support prior rights in an unregistered mark (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.3). The Complainant should have recognized that establishing bad faith in the registration of a 20-year-old Domain Name would require persuasive evidence that the registrant was likely to have knowledge of the Complainant at that time, a Complainant in a specialized industry, one which lacked even an online presence at the time. The Complainant cited archived screenshots to show that the Respondent had parked the Domain Name for years but failed to discover or disclose that earlier screenshots showed that the Respondent actually operated a website for a business with a name for which the Domain Name was a logical abbreviation.
Altogether, the Complaint displays a remarkable lack of realism that warrants an unsolicited finding of reverse domain name hijacking.