Another UDRP was filed against a valuable three letter .com domain name at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the decision was just published on the WIPO website. The three member WIPO panel found in favor of the respondent, and CLH.com will remain with the domain owner.
From my perspective, most UDRP panels have been consistent in finding that valuable LLL .com domain names are fair game for domain investors to own and buy. There are typically many different entities that could conceivably feel entitled to a particular acronym domain name, but that should indicate the generic nature. The panel mentioned this in the decision:
“On the evidence, clearly the acronym CLH, whether as a registered trademark or potentially having common law trademark status by association with the names of companies or other entities, and whether alone or in combination, is in wide use as the identifier of numerous business and other entities. Each of those users of the acronym CLH is a potential customer for a domain name comprising or incorporating CLH, some of which the Respondent has shown to be already in use, including for example <clh.hu>, <clh.com.au> and <clh.org>.”
The panel also noted that the price alone is not evidence of bad faith:
“On the other hand, the Panel finds that the high difference in price requested by the Respondent in a first offer (it purchased the disputed domain name for USD 32,000 and offered it to the Complainant for USD 225,000), cannot alone be considered as an evidence of bad faith. It could be a normal practice in negotiations to start with very high/low prices until an understanding is reached.”
The panel discussed whether or not this was a case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, but the majority of the panel opposed a RDNH finding. The lone panelist who thought this was a case of RDNH was The Hon Neil Brown Q.C., who shared his thoughts on why he felt it was an attempted hijacking.
As with all UDRP decisions, I think domain investors should have a read to familiarize themselves with the arguments made by both parties as well as the rationale for the decision published by the panel.
The UDRP was defended by Zak Muscovitch of Muscovitch Law. Zak and his firm also recently won the Cassandra.com UDRP with a finding of RDNH in that UDRP.
Clearly Losing Hijacking
“In the present case, as in all such cases, the Panel has to decide what, in substance, was the intention and motivation of the Complainant in bringing the claim and on all considerations the Complainant must have known that this was a claim that, on the facts known to the Complainant, should never have been brought. The case for finding Reverse Domain name hijacking is therefore made out. MOREOVER, IT IS NOT A BORDERLINE CASE BUT A CLEAR ONE [emphasis added].”
Note, they are also going after CLH.INFO as well.