A UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against the generic, 20 year old Reformation.com domain name. The UDRP is WIPO Case D2016-2549.
Reformation.com has a creation date of May 31, 1996, making this domain name 20 years old. The domain name was privately registered for quite some time, but it came out of privacy in 2014. It looks like the domain name is being used for a website to document news reports of sexual abuse involving ministers.
I looked through Archive.org to see how the domain name was previously used. The first entry was from October of 2002, and it looks like the content on the homepage is very similar to what is being displayed now. Further, there is a hit counter on that entry that shows a start date of 1997. There are various entries between 2002 and 2016, including this, this, and this, and all of those entries show a similar looking website. On the bottom left of the website it says, “UPDATED AS OF AUGUST 2003.” It would seem that the website has been operated by the same entity for many years.
The complainant in this UDRP case is listed LYMI, Inc. d.b.a. Reformation. I did a Google search for that company name, and I saw that the UDRP was most likely filed by the company that operates TheReformation.com (per the terms page). Interestingly, on the Who We Are page, it says the company was “Created in 2009.”
In order to prove a UDRP, the complainant must not only prove that the domain name is confusingly similar to its mark, but it also must prove that the domain name was registered and being used in bad faith. I don’t see how that will be possible if the company was created in 2009 and the domain name has had what appears to be the same or a similar looking website since at least 2002.
Of course, I might be missing something as I am not privy to any private details, so we shall see what the details are once the decision is rendered. I will be keeping my eye on this UDRP.
Update: Complaint was denied despite respondent not responding to the UDRP.