National Arbitration Forum published two UDRP decisions involving payment services company Paymentus Corporation. Paymentus won one of the cases and was found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in the other.
Let’s start with its win.
The company won a case against paymentus.co, owned by zhang wei / zhangwei. It was registered just last year, well after Paymentus had trademarks for its brand. The domain resolved to a pay-per-click lander with ads related to payments. According to Paymentus, the domain was also used to send fraudulent messages purporting to be from the Complainant.
Panelist David Sorkin had no problem finding in favor of Paymentus.
Now, for the reverse domain name hijacking case. The big difference in this one was the dates.
Paymentus filed the case against ipnpaymentus.com, which was registered in 2014. This was before Paymentus registered its trademark in 2016, although that trademark claimed a first use in commerce date of 2005.
The company didn’t provide any evidence that it used its trademark back then. Nor did it provide evidence that the domain was used in a phishing scheme, which it alleged in its complaint. The domain owner didn’t respond.
Yet, it wrote “Because the PAYMENTUS mark was registered at the time Respondent registered the domain, it is presumed that Respondent had knowledge of the mark.”
This statement is false. And it’s why panelist Alan Limbury found this to be a case of reverse domain name hijacking.
While most reverse domain name hijacking cases involve clear malintent on the part of the Complainant, I have to wonder if the attorneys here made an honest mistake in their wording. Nevertheless, to claim rights dating well before the trademark registration without providing evidence, and to allege use in phishing scheme absent evidence, were big omissions.