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The legal rights objections filed by a number of applicants for new gTLD's are starting to come in. WIPO has posted a number of decisions concerning legal rights objections on new gTLD's over the past two weeks. More decisions should be coming down soon. If your looking to keep abreast of the new LRO decisions by WIPO you can find them at Legal Rights Objections filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
As the years pass and the number of (UDRP) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy arbitrations occur, more and more decisions are addressing reverse domain hijacking. Put simply, reverse domain hijacking occurs when a complainant uses the policy in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain name holder of a domain name. It is typically the respondent that makes a request of the panel for a finding of reverse domain hijacking; although it is possible the panel may make such a finding on its own. Regardless, a panel must be satisfied that the complainant knew of the respondent's unassailable right or legitimate interest in the domain name where the clear lack of bad faith registration in use and nevertheless brought the complaint in bad faith; or that the complaint was brought in knowing disregard of the likelihood that the respondent possessed legitimate interest; or that the complainant knew it had no rights in the trademark or service mark in which is relied and nevertheless brought the complaint in bad faith. While there are an ever growing number of decisions by both the national arbitration forum and world intellectual property organization, there are still some uncertainty as relates to reverse domain hijacking.
While a finding of reverse domain hijacking does not necessarily allow the respondent to recover the resources it had to invest in defending the UDRP complaint, it is a finding that simply does not look good for a complainant. While the UDRP may not allow for recovery of attorney's fees or other filing fees for a respondent when a finding of reverse domain hijacking is made, other ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) dispute resolution providers may indeed allow for such recovery. Regardless, respondents are well served to make the request for reverse domain hijacking when they believe it exists. Doing so forces the complainant to explain its case further and also allows the panel the opportunity to understand whether or not this is truly a matter that should be subject to a UDRP .
Ultimately, a domain name attorney with experience in the UDRP can advise a complainant as to the strength or weakness of its case. Similarly, a domain name attorney can advise a respondent who is subject of a UDRP complaint of the likelihood of a successful defense and or finding of reverse domain hijacking. Reverse domain hijacking should not be an afterthought in today's domain name disputes.
The National Arbitration Forum recently issued a decision on June 24th, 2013 that involved what we have seen to be a fairly regular factual dispute. In particular, the complainant had retained a web developer to create its website. When the complainant failed to pay the web developer, the web developer changed the website available at the domain name. In particular, the web developer made the webpage resolve to content that stated that the website was paused for non-payment of an overdue invoice, and that invoice amount was for $1500. Interestingly, the complainant had transferred the domain name to the web developer as part of the project. As is not uncommon, the complainant simply did not know that it should not retain registration of the domain name for reasons like this. The UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) panelist determined that the respondent's request for the domain name and use to display that there was an overdue payment, amounted to a bad faith registration and bad faith use, as is required under the UDRP. Therefore, the UDRP panelists decided in favor of the complainant and ordered transfer of the domain name, namely AlaskaHealthFair.org.
This decision may come as a surprise to some, in light of the fact that it is a fact pattern that is not necessarily limited to traditional cybersquatting. Instead, it involves contractual issues, namely the breach of contract to pay a web developer. However, this UDRP decision may be used as precedent in the future to resolve domain name disputes that involve factual scenarios similar to this. Nevertheless, a domain name attorney will be in the best position to analyze particular facts and determine whether or not the UDRP is the best course of action.
Our leading internet law firm has lawyers and law offices in the following locations. Our internet attorneys handle matters and litigation cases throughout the Untied States on a pro hac vice basis, for clients like you from around the world. Speak with an internet lawyer from our law firm today for more information.
Traverse Legal Internet Law - Traverse City, Michigan Office | 810 Cottageview Drive, G20, Traverse City, MI 49684 | (231) 932-0411
Traverse Legal Internet Law - Austin, Texas Office | 106 E. Sixth Street, Suite 900, Austin, TX 78701 | (866) 936-7447
Traverse Legal Internet Law - Los Angeles, California Office | 301 E. Colorado Blvd, Suite 514, Pasadena, CA 91101 | (626) 793-8607
Traverse Legal Internet Law - Encino, California Office | 16830 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 358, Encino, CA 91436-1707 | (866) 936-7447