Netherlands company brought case in abuse of the policy, panelist rules.
A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found fintech/cryptocurrency business Feev Holding B.V. guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
The company filed a cybersquatting complaint against Firas Dabboussi, who registered the domain name in 2002. Feev Holding claimed trademark rights dated in 2019. Thus, the domain name could not have been registered in bad faith to target Feev Holding.
Feev Holding filed the case after it says that the domain owner reneged on an offer to sell the domain. It claims that it agreed to purchase the domain last year for $15,000. It also alleges that the domain owner set up email addresses that included two of Feev Holding’s representatives in the form of name @ feev.com.
The domain owner said this isn’t what happened. He claims that Feev Holding misrepresented itself as a music startup during negotiations. The panel also noted that it’s likely that the domain merely had a catchall email set up and that the domain owner didn’t set up email addresses related to Feev Holding’s representatives.
Either way, a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution filing is to settle issues of cybersquatting, not disputes over domain transactions.
In finding reverse domain name hijacking, panelist Nick Gardner wrote:
In the view of the Panel this is a Complaint which should never have been launched. The Complainant should have appreciated that establishing registration and use in bad faith in respect of a domain name which had first been registered many years previously was likely to be impossible. The Complainant appears to have ignored any such considerations. It adopted an entirely unwarranted and misconceived approach based on a supposed contractual entitlement which even if it was well founded (which the Panel doubts) should have been brought to a different forum. The Complainant also threatened the Respondent with costs liability if an UDRP complaint was brought when no such liability exists under the UDRP. Finally it then introduced a completely misconceived allegation of criminal conduct against the Respondent which had no factual foundation whatsoever.
Feev Holding was represented by Mouritz Legal in the Netherlands.