In October, the owner of the descriptive BMA.com domain name was hit with a UDRP from a company called Braunschweiger Maschinenanstalt AG. At the time, I wrote, “I hope the domain owner has a good UDRP attorney.”
This afternoon, the ruling was published, and the owner certainly did have representation from one of the best – John Berryhill. As I expected, the three person panel ruled in favor of the respondent, who may keep the domain name. Berryhill cited five reasons for why the domain owner has rights to it, and those can be read on the WIPO website.
It appears that one of the primary reasons the owner was able to retain the domain name was because he “demonstrated that it has a series of ten other domain name registrations for three letter domain names with title banners relating to educational and vocational subjects all of which use the same format and default to pay per click (PPC) webpages.”
As I mentioned, there is/was an advertising banner at the top that says “Bachelor of Musical Arts & More,” which had nothing to do with the complainant. The panel cited this as well, stating “Importantly there is nothing on the website corresponding to the disputed domain name which targets or refers to the Complainant.”
I think this was a very good decision by the panel and by the domain owner for choosing an expert attorney well-versed in this business. You can check out the decision here.
Elliot, seems like you cover a lot of these udrp claims. Do the defendants sue for complainants to pay for attorney fees? It seems like that would help reduce the number of frivolous claims. It serves as a great buffer to protect the little guys from big bad corporations.
I am not sure what they’d sue for – interference? I don’t really know, but I would be angry if I lost out on a sale because of a UDRP I eventually won. That’s more of a legal question and I don’t have any idea.
Well, I can’t speak for domains, but in our real estate contracts, we have language that states that in the event a dispute went to court, lower pays winner’s attorney fees. It helps to keep people more reasonable and civil.
There have been circumstances in which UDRP complainants have settled such claims by Respondents after the conclusion of a proceeding. As you might imagine, those are confidential.
Kudos to John Berryhill good work.