A UDRP has been filed against the high value AEX.com domain name. The UDRP was filed by Euronext N.V. at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The case number is WIPO Case D2018-0348.
It looks like AEX.com is a developed website and business related to cryptocurrency. The AEX about us page states that “AEX (www.aex.com) is a global and professional Digital Asset Exchange Platform.” It looks like users can trade and/or manage Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. Based on this Reddit post, it looks like the platform launched in November of 2017.
According to the DomainTools Whois History tool, the AEX.com domain name had been owned by Anything.com as recently as May of 2017. Knowing a bit about Anything.com and its domain portfolio as well as some of its publicly known sales, it must have sold for a substantial amount of money. Regardless of its provenance, AEX.com is a valuable domain name.
Euronext owns and operates on the less optimal ccTLD domain name, AEX.nl. According to Wikipedia, the AEX Index “is a stock market index composed of Dutch companies that trade on Euronext Amsterdam.” In addition, the AEX Index “is one of the main national indices of the stock exchange group Euronext alongside Brussels’ BEL20, Paris’s CAC 40 and Lisbon’s PSI-20.” It is clear why the company would want the domain name, but it is unclear to me about whether the UDRP is the right venue for this dispute.
When I saw AEX.com on the UDRP list, my initial thought was that American Express filed the UDRP. I then saw the complainant and had to do a Google search to see what the connection was. AEX.com is a domain name that a variety of companies could conceivably want (Armani Exchange, AEX Convention Services, and AEX Group to name three others).
This UDRP is going to be interesting to follow. On one hand, Euronext could have a legitimate claim because its initials match its Index. On the other hand, I don’t see why another entity couldn’t operate its cryptocurrency platform using the same three initials. Without any legal expertise, my opinion is that this seems like more of an issue for the legal system to resolve rather than a UDRP provider.
Update: The UDRP was denied. There was not a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH).