In early April, I wrote about the TNP.com UDRP filing. As I suspected, the complaint was denied and the domain name owner will retain this valuable domain name. The domain owner was represented by attorney John Berryhill.
In order to win a UDRP complaint, the complainant needs to prove that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark, that the domain owner has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, and the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. All three elements need to be proven by the complainant to win the UDRP. In this particular UDRP proceeding, the panel concluded that the first element was not met by the complainant.
Although this would have been enough for the domain owner to retain the domain name, the panel decided to rule on the rights or legitimate interest aspect as well. The language used in the decision is a good one for domain name investors who own three letter .com domain names:
“In light of the Panel’s findings under sections 6.A and 6.C, it is not necessary for the Panel to address this issue at any length. However, the Panel notes that in the section of its decision dealing with bad faith, it concludes that the Respondent “registered the disputed domain name for its inherent value as a three-letter domain name with numerous potential meanings without targeting the Complainant and its trademarks …” one of the indicia of a right or legitimate interest.”
The panel also wrote about registering and using the domain name in bad faith, even though it wasn’t necessary to do so. Recognizing that investing in (and selling) valuable generic/descriptive domain names is a legitimate business practice is helpful for domain name investors:
“The circumstances of the case suggest that the Respondent, which appears to trade mainly domain names with generic meanings, registered the disputed domain name for its inherent value as a three-letter domain name with numerous potential meanings without targeting the Complainant and its trademarks. The Respondent’s purchase of other domain names consisting of three-letter terms appears to be consistent with the Respondent’s business model.
In view of the above, the Respondent’s offer for sale of the disputed domain name to the public for a substantial amount of money and the use of a privacy service with the indication of incomplete registrant contact details in the underlying WhoIs records are not considered by the Panel as sufficient elements to demonstrate that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.”
It does not look like Reverse Domain Name Hijacking was considered in this decision, although there is no penalty for RDNH. Despite this, there is more than enough helpful language in the decision.
In the original article I wrote about the TNP.com UDRP, I mentioned that there were other recent UDRP filings involving LLL.com domain names. The complaint was denied in the ALO.com UDRP, and the complaint was denied in the ATC.com UDRP. In addition, the complaint was denied on the SOG.com UDRP as well.
Perhaps a future complaint’s attorney will see these UDRP decisions and realize that LLL.com domain names can rightfully be owned by third parties (domain investors included), and they should reconsider filing a UDRP and negotiate to buy a valuable domain name in good faith instead.