Issaquah, Washington youth soccer club gets a red card.
Youth soccer can be a cutthroat endeavor, and two soccer clubs recently took a fight off the field.
This match took place in Issaquah, Washington, a suburb of Seattle.
Issaquah FC, which uses the domain IssaquahFC.org, filed a cybersquatting complaint with National Arbitration Forum against the domain name issaquahfc.com. The .com domain is registered to Paul Dolan, who said he registered it as a representative of Issaquah Soccer Club.
The domain currently forwards to ISCgunners.org, which appears to be affiliated with Issaquah Soccer Club.
(FC is short for Football Club, the English equivalent of Soccer Club.)
Issaquah FC tried a couple of times to get Issaquah Soccer Club to hand over the domain but was told the board wouldn’t approve the transfer.
There’s certainly some bad blood between the organizations. A website for Eastside Youth Soccer Association, which is affiliated with the Complainant, states:
About five years ago, the ISC Gunners club took the unprecedented step of unilaterally ignoring the terms of their Washington Youth Soccer and EYSA charter. The choice to start their own “Premier” club, and actively compete with EYSA’s Premier/RCL club (Eastside FC), was the start of a pattern of independent actions, which continued up to the April 1 ISC Gunner withdrawal from EYSA. Over the course of these 5+ years the ISC Gunners leadership unilaterally made decisions without consulting the other EYSA clubs and without any concern for how it might affect the other member clubs of EYSA. Beyond the confusion and the tension it created with all EYSA clubs (and especially Eastside FC), the choices also adversely impacted the competitive leagues in which the other EYSA clubs played.
Here’s the thing: according to the case decision, Dolan registered the domain before the Complainant existed. Thus, he could not have registered the domain in bad faith. On this basis, panelist Alan L. Limbury found that Issaquah FC filed the case in bad faith, i.e., reverse domain name hijacking.
I think there might be a bit more to the story. IssaquahFC.org was registered about a week before IssaquahFC.com, which makes me think the Complainant’s plans were in motion and publicly known before it was incorporated.
But if this is true, it didn’t make the case to the panel. And the descriptive nature of the domain, along with the Respondent’s official name being Issaquah Soccer Club, tipped the scales in the Respondent’s favor.
Issaquah FC’s Executive Director, Kelly Galloway, represented it in the complaint. Perkins Coie LLP represented the Respondent.