Panel cites 8 false statements it says Simple Plan Inc made in UDRP.
The Canadian music group Simple Plan’s management company has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in its attempt to get the domain SimplePlan.com back after it expired.
At the outset, you can sympathize with Simple Plan’s situation. It registered the domain name through a company that was apparently a Tucows reseller. That reseller’s website went dark when it was time to renew the domain. It expired and was auctioned through GoDaddy Auctions.
But Simple Plan decided to blame the person who won the domain at the auction, claiming his plan was to “fraudulently hijack” the domain from the band and then ask for a lot of money to transfer it back.
The three-person National Arbitration Forum panel cited at least 8 false statements Simple Plan Inc. made in the case.
Michel Rog says he acquired the domain name for his travel business. He’s not a domain investor. Shortly after acquiring the domain, he forwarded it to his travel site tryp.com.
Just days after acquiring the domain, Simple Plan hired GoDaddy to inquire about buying the domain. The band offered $5,000. Rog responded, “The name is not actually for sale unless someone is willing to offer at least $35,000. So if they can make an offer for that amount then I would be willing to part with the name.”
Yet Simple Plan argued that GoDaddy was working on behalf of Rog, and that he was demanding $35,000 plus GoDaddy’s 20% commission.
One of the more amusing lines in the UDRP is in Simple Plan’s second additional submission (it apparently submitted three):
Clearly, in bad faith, Respondent is thumbing his nose at the Forum and Complainant in a wholly undisciplined and venal manner consistent with his attempt to profit from his cybersquatting.
That’s a bold statement from someone who filed a reverse domain name hijacking case!
The panel cited these false statements in the filing, which contributed to its finding of reverse domain name hijacking:
“Respondent who, acting anonymously through GoDaddy, is now demanding $35,000.00, plus 20% commission to GoDaddy, to transfer it back to Complainant.”
“The domain name is also being offered for sale back to Complainant on GoDaddy for $35,000 plus 20 percent commission!”
“Acting anonymously through GoDaddy, the Respondent is demanding 35,000.00 (USD) to sell the domain name Complainant owned for 20 years back to Complainant.”
“Respondent’s bad faith is also demonstrated by its affirmative acts of taking away and letting lapse Complainant’s domain name and then demanding 35,000 (USD) plus 20% interest to get it back.”
“Under the facts and circumstances of this case, Respondent’s intent is, and outrageous actions are, to unfairly and fraudulently hijack Complainant’s simpleplan.com domain name and sell it back to Complainant at a highly inflated cost.”
“Respondent communicated its demands through its agent, GoDaddy, the broker and registrar. Since GoDaddy was Respondent’s agent, the 20% commission demanded of Complainant was in fact made on behalf of Respondent to add to the already excessive price.”
“Respondent is holding Complainant’s “simpleplan” domain name that Complainant has used for its business for decades, hijacked it himself and demands exorbitant monies to return it to Complainant, who held it for 20 years.”
“Respondent argues that because he went through his registrar and agent Go Daddy to offer for sale the domain name simpleplan.com back to Complainant by Respondent for $35,000, plus a 20 percent commission for GoDaddy — $52,500 [sic], an amount far in excess of the out-of-pocket costs for a domain name, he lacks bad faith. This argument is fallacious. Respondent’s own evidence shows communications between him and GoDaddy wherein Respondent expressly authorized GoDaddy to sell simpleplan.com back to Complainant for this exorbitant amount. This shows bad faith use of Complainant’s SIMPLE PLAN mark.”
Scarinci Hollenbeck represented Simple Plan Inc. Howard Neu represented Rog.