GIVN.com was the subject a UDRP filing at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The decision was published today, and the panelist, Robert A. Badgley, ruled in favor of the domain registrant. The complaint was filed by a company called GIVN Goods, Inc., which operates on GivnWater.com. The domain registrant was represented by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
According to the decision, the domain registrant purchased the domain name at auction. NameBio shows that GIVN.com was acquired via NameJet in May of this year for $6,400.
What may have brought the domain name to the complainant’s attention is an email exchange it had with someone who offered the domain name for sale. The name and email address of the person who emailed the complainant about the domain name was not published, but it appears that subsequent communication would lead the complainant to believe it was a former registrant. Based on the reported May 2021 timing of the email exchange, I would not be shocked if it was an auction frontrunner. Here’s what was written about this in the decision:
“On May 2021, an individual (“MT”) sent an email to Complainant asking whether Complainant was interested in purchasing the Domain Name for USD 4,500. Complainant promptly countered with an offer of USD 2,000. Complainant followed up with MT, and even increased the offer to USD 3,500, but Complainant did not hear back from MT until June 9, 2021, when MT sent an email stating that he had been mistaken in his belief that he still owned the Domain Name. Respondent states that it has no relationship or affiliation with MT, and there is nothing in the record contrary to Respondent’s disavowal of MT.”
If my guess is what actually happened, there would be no way the registrant would sell the domain name for the quoted $4,500 price after paying $6,400 to acquire it at auction. Again, there is nothing mentioned about frontrunning, but it seems pretty coincidental that someone who was supposedly a former registrant emailed the complainant about the domain name in May of 2021 which is when the domain name was in auction.
Ultimately, the panelist ruled in favor of the domain registrant because he found that it was likely that the domain name was not acquired because of the complainant’s trademarks. Here’s what was written in the decision:
“The Panel concludes that Complainant has failed to prove that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. Based on the rather thin record here, and viewing the matter on a balance of probabilities, the Panel cannot conclude that it is more likely than not that Respondent had Complainant’s GIVN trademark in mind when registering the Domain Name.
As Respondent notes in the Response, it acquired the Domain Name because it is short and represents an abbreviation of a common word. The Panel agrees that the Domain Name – particularly with the “.com” generic Top-Level Domain – may be inherently valuable notwithstanding anyone’s trademark rights. Respondent’s statement that it was unaware of Complainant and the GIVN mark at the time the Domain Name was registered strikes the Panel as plausible.”
Although the respondent requested a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH), the panelist denied that determination. It seemed like a close call though, as the panelist wrote, “Complainant’s case is weak, and Complainant’s claim that the GIVN mark is “famous” is not supported by any evidence.”