A company called Legally Co filed a UDRP against Legally.com, a one word .com domain name. The UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and it is WIPO Case D2018-1958.
Legally.com is a domain name owned by GoDaddy’s NameFind portfolio company. From what I can see, this dictionary word .com domain name appears to have a (reasonable) buy it now price of $24,999. Using DomainTools’ Whois history tool, it appears that Legally.com was acquired when the company purchased a large group of domain names from Tucows’ YummyNames portfolio. Legally.com has an original registration date of July 1997, making it over 20 years old.
The complainant in the case appears to be the company operating on the Legally.CO domain name. Assuming this is the company that filed the UDRP, LinkedIn lists its founding date as 2015. There are quite a few companies that are branded “Legally” or that have the “Legally” keyword in them, so it could conceivably be another company with the same name. In fact, a DomainTools search shows thousands of domain names registered with the “legally” keyword in them.
In order to prevail in a UDRP, a complainant will need to prove the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Considering that GoDaddy owns thousands of excellent keyword .com domain names, I can’t imagine a panel would rule that the company registered and is using Legally.com in bad faith. If the complainant is unable to prove this, they can’t win.
This UDRP doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I don’t see how the company will be able to prove all aspects of the UDRP. In addition, if GoDaddy were to lose a UDRP on a dictionary .com domain name like this one, it would seem to be in its best interest to fight this in court to try and overturn the decision. This could then become an expensive legal battle that could easily exceed the asking price for the domain name.
GoDaddy also has the option of filing a lawsuit preemptively. This would essentially put the UDRP on hold. Should GoDaddy opt to do this, it could cost the complainant more than $25,000 to fight GoDaddy in court (and/or take up a considerable amount of time resources). As you may recall, this is what Nat Cohen’s Telepathy did after a UDRP was filed against SDT.com. That lawsuit ended in Telepathy securing a $50,000 settlement from the company that filed the UDRP, and Telepathy retained the domain name.
Of course, this assumes GoDaddy will fight the UDRP rather than attempt to reach a settlement before the decision is rendered. My gut says they wouldn’t try to reach a settlement because it could send a message to other companies that filing a UDRP is a better way to get a deal done rather than negotiating in good faith.
I will keep my eye on this UDRP proceeding.
Update: The domain registrant won the UDRP.