Domain name was registered well before the Complainant was incorporated.
The Canadian operator of a secure file transfer service called e-Courier has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking for the domain name eCourier.com. The company uses e-Courier.ca for its website.
Soft Trust Inc. filed a cybersquatting complaint against the domain name with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Soft Trust was incorporated in 2004 and its E-Courier rights would have postdated that. The domain name was registered in 1997.
The Complainant made several seemingly conflicting statements about when it believed the Respondent acquired the domain name. These are quotes WIPO panelist John Swinson included in his decision that represent Soft Trust’s arguments:
“The website at the Disputed Domain Name has displayed a message stating “Sorry! This site is temporarily unavailable.” since at least September 2001”
“The Complainant is unsure of the exact date that the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name but it appears to have been at some point between September 14, 2005, and December 17, 2015. This is after the date on which the Complainant accrued rights in E-COURIER.”
“It appears the Disputed Domain Name was originally registered by a third party and that the Respondent did not register the Disputed Domain Name until 2012 at the earliest.”
Swinson clarified the Complainant’s position:
“The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Name was transferred from the Respondent individual (Todd Hinton) to the Respondent company (Ikebana America LLC) at some point between September 14, 2005, and December 17, 2015, and that this constitutes a new registration of the Disputed Domain Name.”
But it is clear that Hinton and the company are essentially one and the same. This means that the Respondent registered the domain in 1997, well before the Complainant was in business.
In finding reverse domain name hijacking Swinson listed eight facts that easily showed that Hinton and Ikebana were one and the same and that the Complainant should have known this.
It also turns out that a representative of the Complainant contacted the Respondent on three occasions between 2007 and 2011, offering to buy the domain. The Respondent declined each time. The complainant didn’t include this correspondence in its complaint.
Merizzi Ramsbottom & Forster represented the Complainant. The decision does not list counsel for the Respondent.