Acquired for a Reported $2.68 Million, Lotto.com Saved in UDRP

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A UDRP was filed against the Lotto.com domain name at the World Intellectual Property Organization. The complainant in the UDRP is Bremer Toto und Lotto GmbH of Germany. The decision was published on the WIPO website today, and not surprisingly, the domain registrant won the UDRP.

The respondent’s contention in the decision is what caught my attention (bold emphasis is mine):

“The Respondent contends that the Complaint fails on all three grounds and should be dismissed. It disputes the Complainant’s title to the Trademarks and its entitlement to bring proceedings under any of them. It adds that the word “lotto” is entirely descriptive. It has already used the disputed domain name for well over a year as the URL for a website directed to consumers in the United States of America (“United States”). It purchased the disputed domain name for USD 2.68 million and has invested heavily in developing a website that will trade lawfully in the United States.”

It’s unclear when the domain name was acquired, but it appears to be registered to the same or an associated entity since late 2017. According to the Whois History Tool at DomainTools, the domain name has been registered under privacy from 2011 until October of 2017. Between August and October of 2017, privacy was removed on the registration and the domain name transferred from GoDaddy to EuroDNS. I would guess this is approximately when the sale took place.

If Ron Jackson would be able to confirm this with the registrant or former registrant, a $2,680,000 sale would be the second largest publicly reported domain name sale of 2017. It would be just shy of the $2.89 million sale of Fly.com and more than the $2 million sale of ETH.com.

All in all, the UDRP decision went as I would have expected, although I was surprised there was not a decision of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking given the generic nature of the Lotto.com domain name and some of the other factors outlined in the decision:

“The Panel also notes that the Respondent has provided tangible evidence relating to its business plans and associated activities undertaken to-date in association with the disputed domain name. The domain name in question has existed for many years, but was only recently acquired by the Respondent for a significant sum (USD 2.68 million) in furtherance of its plan to launch a new online lottery-related business in the United States. The Respondent has provided details of its plans, including certain developmental steps such as the initial investment in the disputed domain name itself, the operation of a short-form website from 2018 to mid-2019, the incorporation of two businesses in New Jersey, United States (including Lotto.com Inc.), and the filing of a lottery license application with the state regulator. These activities took place beginning in October 2017 and continuing into mid-2019. All of these points of evidence support the conclusion that the Respondent has engaged in the preparation of a bona fide offering of services in association with the disputed domain name.”

As always, thanks to UDRPSearch.com for keeping track of UDRP filings.

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