Georg Mez AG of Rotkreuz, Switzerland filed UDRP against domain name owner of MEZ.com on 09/22/16 after failed negotiations for buying the domain name.
Apparently mez-technik’s offer to buy MEZ.com was 600 USD!!!
The price of 3 letter .coms are typically in the 5 figure range as seen below taken from domain name sales price history website Namebio.com. Fact is that most of these are traded between domain name investors, so these are intrinsic values.
A sale to an end user like mez-technik.de should command more, something like the TCP.com sale.
What is UDRP?
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.
Providers of the UDRP are:
- The Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC)
- National Arbitration Forum (NAF)
- World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
- Czech Arbitration Court, Arbitration Center for Internet Disputes
- http://acdr.aipmas.org/default.aspx The Arab Center for Dispute Resolution (ACDR)
What is WIPO?
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations.
WIPO was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world”.
Often big corporations use UDRP to threaten domain names investors when negotiations fail. The UDRP panel carefully examines the claims and takes an appropriate decision. If UDRP is granted, the domain name moves to the complainant. If UDRP is not granted, the domain name stays with the respondent.
Icing on the cake is the RDNH (Reverse Domain Name Hijacking) finding. If this finding is cited it gets a mention in the WIPO ruling and it helds the company guilty for the same.
What is RDNH (Reverse Domain Name Hijacking)?
Reverse domain name hijacking (also known as reverse cybersquatting), occurs where a trademark owner attempts to secure a domain name by making false cybersquatting claims against a domain name’s rightful owner. This often intimidates domain name owners into transferring ownership of their domain names to trademark owners to avoid legal action, particularly when the domain names belong to smaller organizations or individuals. Reverse domain name hijacking is most commonly perpetrated by larger corporations and famous individuals.
MEZ.COM UDRP by Georg Mez AG of mez-technik.de was a case of RDNH (Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, rules WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization):
“The Panel considers that the Complainant has been guilty of RDNH for the following reasons:
1. The Complainant has failed by a large margin. In the Panel’s opinion, the Complainant knew, or at
least should have known, that it could not prove one of the essential UDRP elements. Indeed, the
Complainant made no real effort to establish that the Respondent was likely to have been aware of it on
acquisition of the disputed domain name, including the lack of any information or evidence about the
Complainant’s trading activities. Indeed, there was virtually no evidence at all relating to bad faith; for
example the Complainant supplied no screenshots illustrating the use of the disputed domain name which
the Complainant invoked. (This information only emerged in later submissions.). Instead, the Complainant
resorted to some vague and unpersuasive arguments, none of which were directed to the likelihood that the
Respondent was aware of the Complainant, and which appeared to rest on the basis that the Complainant
had an exclusive right to the disputed domain name.
2. The Complaint lacked candour in that it made no mention of the prior communications between the
parties including its initial offer to purchase the disputed domain name.
3. In the Panel’s view, this is a classic “Plan B” case where a party, having been frustrated in its
negotiations to buy a domain name, resorts to the ultimate option of a highly contrived and artificial claim not
supported by any facts or the plain wording of the UDRP. This stratagem has been described in many UDRP
cases as “a highly improper purpose” and it has contributed to findings of RDNH. See, e.g., Patricks
Universal Export Pty Ltd. v. David Greenblatt, WIPO Case No. D2016-0653 and BERNINA International AG
v. Domain Administrator, Name Administration Inc. (BVI), WIPO Case No. D2016-1811.
4. The Complainant in its supplemental filing expressly declined to respond to the Respondent’s
assertion of RDNH. The Complainant submitted simply that “Statements in relation to Reverse Domain
Name Hijacking are not required”. In the context of this proceeding, statements in relation to RDNH were
certainly required and it is not unreasonable to expect that they would have been provided. If so, they would
certainly have been admitted. When a panel finds that a party will not engage in debate on a particular
issue, it is entitled to conclude that the party’s case on the issue in question has some inherent deficiencies.”
And finally the verdict:
For the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied and the Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in
bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.”
The full WIPO ruling is available here for download. Also, you can read it here: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2016-1932
Owning a domain name with the intention of selling it for a profit is a basic right, says UDRP panel on utilibill.com domain name dispute:
The ruling reads:
“But even if it were the intention of Respondent to sell the domain name at a profit, it is not untoward or improper or conduct negating the basic right to register a domain name that the registrant intends to sell it at a profit. The Policy states that it is bad faith registration of a domain name when the registrant’s primary motivation is not simply to sell the domain name but to sell or rent it to the complainant trademark owner or a competitor, which of course is consistent with the whole purpose of the UDRP which is to negate abusive registrations of domain names. But there is nothing in the Policy to negate the right or a registrant to register a domain name with the intention of selling it at a profit, especially when, as in the present case, there was no trademark in existence or contemplation when the domain name was registered. Complainant’s first and principal argument therefore does not succeed.”
The full ruling can be downloaded here:
Andrew Allemann keeps a record of latest RDNH (Reverse Domain Name Hijacking) findings at RDNH.COM
Georg Mez AG of mez-technik.de also got into the HallofShame.com (http://www.hallofshame.com/
Conclusion: UDRP panels have increasingly become vigilant of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) and it might be better for the corporations to avoid being called one just like Georg Mez AG of mez-technik.de did for MEZ.com The online reputation loss just adds to the exorbitant legal fees for the lawyer and UDRP filing fees.