WIPO admonishes German company for reverse domain name hijacking.
A World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) panel has determined that German company Thermamax Hochtemperaturdämmungen GmbH tried to reverse domain name hijack Tmax .com.
The owner of the domain name registered it in 2000. While Thermamax had a word and device mark for TMax at the time of registration, it was in Germany and the domain registrant is in South Korea. It appears that Thermamax began using the Tmax brand more broadly over time, but well after the domain was registered.
Certainly, a delay of 20 years from registration to the dispute would have given the panel pause.
In finding reverse domain name hijacking, the panel wrote:
For the various reasons outlined in this regard under Part 6.C above, the legally advised Complainant should have known that this was not a case in which it could successfully make out a case that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith. It looks to the Panel as if this is a case in which the Complainant has, some years after registration of the disputed domain name, decided to gradually re-brand from “Thermomax” to “Tmax” and has undertaken a programme of registering or acquiring various domain names incorporating TMAX accordingly. More recently, in September 2019, the Panel infers on balance that the Complainant decided that it also required the key “.com” Top-Level domain name but after its efforts to contact the Respondent bore no results it then decided to proceed with this Complaint, regardless of the likelihood that it would not be able to demonstrate the Respondent’s registration in bad faith. This is not the purpose for which the Policy was conceived and in the Panel’s view amounts to reverse domain name hijacking.
Reble & Klose Attorneys & Patentattorneys represented Thermamax. The domain owner, MySite Corporate, represented itself. The panelists were Alistair Payne, Andrea Jaeger-Lenz and Steven A. Maier.