TV analytics company went after a domain registered well before it existed.
Earlier today, I wrote about the hummingbird.com UDRP and stated that I was surprised the panelist didn’t consider reverse domain name hijacking.
National Arbitration Forum published another decision today with a similar fact pattern, and the panelist did find reverse domain name hijacking.
Samba TV, Inc. is a television analytics company that uses the domain samba.tv. It filed a cybersquatting claim against SambaTV.com.
Similarly to the hummingbird.com case, Samba TV was founded after the domain was registered, and the Complainant did not make an effort to address this fatal flaw despite being represented by counsel.
Also like the hummingbird.com case, the domain owner didn’t respond to the dispute.
But panelist Debrett Lyons went the extra step and determined that this case is reverse domain name hijacking. Lyons wrote:
Complainant certifies that “the information contained in this Complaint is to the best of Complaint’s knowledge complete and accurate, that this Complaint is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, and that the assertions in this Complaint are warranted under these Rules and under applicable law, as it now exists or as it may be extended by a good-faith and reasonable argument.”
Complainant is professionally represented. By its own evidence, Respondent adopted the disputed domain name before it could have known of Complainant’s business. Moreover, the limited use of the domain name by Respondent, many years before Complainant’s asserted first use in commerce of the Trademark, is use related to the ordinary, dictionary, meaning of the terms comprising the Trademark.
There is no evidence of bad faith. There is no evidence that Respondent has approached Complainant (or another) to sell the domain name, nor asked for money or other favour in response to entreaties by Complainant to transfer the disputed domain name. Nor has Respondent at any time after the commencement of Complainant’s business under the Trademark, adapted the resolving page to offer or promote goods or services of the kind of interest to Complainant.
On one reading of the evidence, the domain name is one coveted by Complainant as an obvious choice for its later established business and, unwilling to negotiate a commercial agreement for its acquisition, Complainant has brought these proceedings based on what the Panel finds to be unsustainable assertions.
Bearing in mind the plain words of the Policy, the Panel finds it unlikely that the
Complaint is to the best of Complainant’s knowledge complete and finds it incomprehensible that it could certify in good faith that the assertions in the Complaint are warranted. The Panel finds reverse domain name hijacking.
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves and Savitch LLP represented Samba TV, Inc.