Company wrongfully alleged that the domain owner stole the domain.
A UDRP panel has found that mattress company Sleep Number Corporation tried to reverse domain name hijack beds.com.
Sleep Number once owned and used the domain name, and in 2018, started forwarding the domain to sleepnumber.com.
In its Complaint, Sleep Number alleged that the domain owner stole the domain name from it. When the Respondent presented evidence of buying the domain name through domain marketplace Sedo, Sleep Number changed its allegation to say that the Respondent either knew it was stolen or was willfully blind to it.
But the three-person panel ruled that Sleep Number proved none of the three elements required to win a cybersquatting dispute under UDRP. It went a step further with reverse domain name hijacking, writing:
…Not only did Complainant fail to establish any of the three elements, it is clear that Complainant made a speculative case at best by first alleging theft of the disputed domain name by Respondent without supporting evidence pointing to the role of Respondent in the alleged theft, and then after seeing Respondent’s response, essentially changing its arguments to say while Respondent might not have stolen the disputed domain name, Respondent should have known about the theft because of the low price, etc. The fact that Complainant only cited court cases but not UDRP cases to support its “willful blindness” theory is telling – UDRP proceedings are clearly not the appropriate forum.
Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP represented Sleep Number, and John Berryhill represented the domain owner.