CellGene.com UDRP Results in RDNH

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A UDRP panel ruled that the CellGene.com UDRP was a case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. The UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and it is case #D2018-2673. The UDRP was filed by a large publicly traded pharmaceutical company called Celgene.

This is the second RDNH finding on a UDRP defended by attorney Jason Schaeffer of ESQWire.com in the last few days. I wrote about the SecureLock.com UDRP yesterday.

Like the SecureLock.com UDRP decision, the panel in the CellGene.com UDRP also acknowledged the legitimacy of Pay Per Click (PPC) parking. In the decision, the panel took the time to discuss PPC monetization in two sections. Here’s an excerpt from the rights or legitimate interests section of the decision:

“According to the evidence placed before the Panel, for most of its 16-year life the disputed domain name has been used as a parking page with PPC links relating to the dictionary meaning of the terms comprised in the disputed domain name. As mentioned in section 2.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), such activity is consistent with Respondent rights or legitimate interests under the UDRP.”

The Panel does not consider that, in the circumstances explained in section 6C below, the recent and brief appearance of the Complainant-related PPC links is sufficient to delegitimise the Respondent’s use.”

Here’s an excerpt from the registered and used in bad faith section of the decision:

“Fifth, since at least 2004, the disputed domain name has been used for a website with PPC links relating to the dictionary meaning of the terms comprised in the disputed domain name rather than to the Complainant or its specific industry – apart from a 2018 screenshot produced by the Complainant with three links referring to the Complainant – “Cellgene Jobs” (twice) and “Celgene”. The Complainant has not exhibited the pages to which these links lead and so the Panel cannot tell whether the Complainant is right to claim that they “do not lead to any legitimate website or information about the Complainant”. In any case, the Panel does not believe these PPC links are relevant given that they first appeared after a very long period of entirely legitimate PPC-use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent. Even if the Respondent is treated as responsible for these (automated) links and even if they are deemed to constitute use in bad faith (as to which the Panel expresses no view), they are certainly not indicators that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith 15 years previously.”

Interestingly, the decision revealed that the complainant offered to buy the CellGene.com domain name for $2,000 and the domain registrant (respondent) offered to sell it for $7,500.

Ultimately, the panel ruled this was a case of RDNH. Ultimately, this UDRP decision, when coupled with the SecureLock.com UDRP decision, provides some very recent UDRP “case law” in support of domain investing and the rights of domain registrants.

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