Less than two weeks ago, I noticed that a UDRP had been filed against the Duggan.com domain name at the NAF. While Duggan stood out to me as a last name, what really caught my attention was a quick Whois search that showed that Duggan.com is owned by a person with Duggan as his last name. I think this fact should have made the complainant realize the UDRP will not succeed because it would seem impossible to prove the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith if the registrant’s last name is the same.
Upon looking at UDRPSearch.com last night, I noticed that this UDRP was already decided, less than two weeks after the October 24th filing date. I do not recall seeing a UDRP decided so quickly before. As I expected, the domain registrant won the UDRP and will keep the domain name. I think the respondent’s contention made it pretty easy for the panelist:
“Respondent registered the domain name on December 18, 1995 in an attempt to learn about creating websites and registering domain names. Respondent has used the Domain Name to develop websites, early software creation, and maintaining an email address for Respondent and its family members. Respondent’s Domain Name contains its last name and there is no information to infer “Property Services” at the domain name.”
Interestingly, the complainant cited the respondent’s lack of communication after trying to buy the domain name. To me, this would actually indicate that the registrant had no interest in selling the domain name and might actually be a counterargument to the bad faith requirement. After all, if the registrant bought the name in bad faith, it would seem likely that selling the domain name would be a good outcome. The panelist addressed the issue of the domain registrant not entering into negotiations with the complainant:
“Complainant’s remaining submission is that Respondent has failed to enter into negotiations with Complainant to sell the Domain Name to it. Respondent’s unwillingness to sell the Domain Name to Complainant is not in any way illustrative of bad faith registration or use. Therefore, the Panel finds Respondent did not register the Domain Name in bad faith.”
Essentially, this seems like a “plan B” UDRP. The complainant tried to buy the domain name, the registrant did not reply, and the complainant filed a UDRP to try and get the domain name in another way. I understand why the complainant would want the domain name. In the complainant’s contention, it was stated “Complainant has also been forced to register the <duggan.cc> domain name since 1995 as a result of Respondent’s registration of the Domain Name.” However, the UDRP was not the appropriate avenue.
Surprisingly, the panelist did not rule that this was a case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH). My guess is that the respondent did not request this finding, so the panelist did not consider it. In my opinion, the panelist should have considered RDNH since the registrant’s last name is Duggan and it seems to be impossible from the outset for the complainant to prove all three elements of the UDRP, and this seems to be a clear cut Plan B UDRP filing.