08/11/2008

Reverse Domain Name Hijacking Decision Under the UDRP: What Was The Attorney Thinking?

A recent reverse domain hijacking decision in Collective Media, Inc. v. CKV / COLLECTIVEMEDIA.COM is interesting to any lawyer who practices domain dispute law. The law firm bringing the Complaint Lowenstein Sandler PC advertises as a large law firm specializing in domain name disputes as evidenced by a search of their web site for the words "domain name." Considering that the domain name was registered 5 years before Complainant's trademark application was even filed and 3 years before claimed first use of the trademark, and that it contains two generic words, it is hard to imagine whether the lawyers were thinking beyond the billable hour when they filed this one. 

WIPO Domain Name Decision: D2008-0641

In addition, the Complainant’s case was weak in other respects. The Complainant provided no strong evidence of its trademark rights. The Complainant has no registered trademark. The Complainant provided evidence of having only a pending application for a registered mark. Neither did the Complainant provide strong evidence of having common law, or unregistered, trademark rights. The Complainant’s evidence in this respect comprised of three pages from its own website, and a small number of articles with incidental references to it, or containing (among others) short quotes of the “CEO of ad network Collective Media”. Those articles were dated between January and March 2008. The evidence from its own website appears to have been obtained in April 2008. The Complainant provided no evidence to support its claim of having unregistered trademark rights in 2005, let alone in 2002 when the disputed domain name was registered.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant should have appreciated that its Complaint could not succeed and, as such, was brought in bad faith for the purpose of paragraph 15(e) of the Rules.

Congratulations to Ari Goldberger who represented the Respondent.
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COMMENTS

There ought to be a law against reverse hijacking of domain names. An award of attorney fees might help.

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Cybersquatting: 'How To' Resources

  • Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act - Wikipedia
    The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (also known as Truth in Domain Names Act), a United States federal law enacted in 1999, is part of A bill to amend the provisions of title 17, United States Code, and the Communications Act of 1934, relating to copyright licensing and carriage of broadcast signals by satellite (S. 1948). It makes people who register domain names that are either trademarks or individual's names with the sole intent of selling the rights of the domain name to the trademark holder or individual for a profit liable to civil action.
  • Typosquatting - Wikipedia
    Typosquatting, also called URL hijacking, is a form of cybersquatting which relies on mistakes such as typographical errors made by Internet users when inputting a website address into a web browser. Should a user accidentally enter an incorrect website address, they may be led to an alternative website owned by a cybersquatter.
  • Reverse Domain Hijacking - Wikipedia
    The term reverse domain hijacking refers to the practice of inequitably unseating domain name registrants by accusing them of violating weak or non-existent trademarks related to the domain name.
  • Uniform DomainName DisputeResolution Policy - Wikipedia
    The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a process established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of internet domain names. The UDRP policy currently applies to all .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, and .org top-level domains, and some country code top-level domains.
  • Cybersquatting - Wikipedia
    Cybersquatting, according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.

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