…or it certainly should have been withdrawn later.
Last week, National Arbitration Forum published a decision for the domain openbots.com in favor of the domain owner. I think this case should have never been filed and, giving the most favorable read to the Complainant, should undoubtedly have been withdrawn after the response was received.
OpenBots, Inc., which uses openbots.ai, filed the dispute.
At the time it filed the dispute, openbots.com didn’t resolve. The Complainant said it tried to reach out to the owner about the domain but didn’t hear back. And like nearly all domains these days, the domain also had Whois privacy by default.
So the Complainant was probably frustrated in its attempt to acquire the domain.
However, OpenBots, Inc. is a relatively new company. The trademark it relies upon in its complaint states a first use in commerce date of 2020. Openbots.com was registered in 2003. So the company should have identified something to suggest that the domain has changed ownership since 2020.
Historical Whois records show that the domain has been at Namecheap under its Whois privacy since before that date, and its nameservers haven’t changed during that period. I can’t find anything in historical records to indicate a change.
I think a Complainant’s law firm should at least make an effort to review historical records before filing a case. Here, there’s nothing to suggest that the Complainant has rights predating the current owner’s registration of the domain, so the case was dead on arrival.
If you want to give the Complainant some leeway, it certainly should have withdrawn the case once the domain owner’s identity was revealed. As part of the post-GDPR UDRP process, National Arbitration Forum would have revealed this information to the Complainant and given it the opportunity to amend the case.
And if you want to give even more leeway, the company should have withdrawn when the Respondent confirmed his ownership dating to 2003.
It doesn’t appear that the Respondent asked for reverse domain name hijacking, but I think panelist Douglas Isenberg should have considered it.
And, should there be changes to UDRP in the future, I think the intake should ask the Complainant to clearly state if it claims rights predating the domain registration.