The National Hockey League, also commonly known as the NHL, has filed a UDRP to try and get control of the NHL.net domain name. The case was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and it is WIPO Case D2016-0315.
One thing I find very interesting about the case is that the NHL seems to have waited a very long time to file this UDRP. The domain name has a creation date of March of 1999. The first historical Whois record in DomainTools dates back to 2003. I did a Whois history search, and although the registrant name is different today than it was in 2003, I have reason to believe that it is the same or a related entity. Both registrants have Montreal addresses (which is not all that meaningful), but both registrants have the same phone number, which ends in 5799.
At the present time, NHL.net does not resolve for me. I looked at Screenshots.com, and the only screenshot on record is from 2006, and the screenshot is blank. I also checked Archive.org and I could not see a website for NHL.net.
As you might know, there may be more than meets the eye here, but I don’t see how the NHL would be able to show bad faith when it doesn’t seem like the current registrant of NHL.net is using the domain name in a manner that infringes on the rights of the National Hockey League or its NHL brand. I suppose we will see what the League’s lawyers say when the decision is rendered.
Update: UDRP decision rendered: “For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name, , be transferred to the Complainant.”
A UDRP was probably not the best way to get the domain, as you mentioned. NHL has well over a dozen trademarks protecting ‘NHL’. Sending a C & D letter would be hard to argue with.
If someone sends you a C&D letter that you don’t agree with, would you just hand over the domain name?
In this case, what activity would the NHL ask the domain owner to cease and desist?
UDRP decision: “For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name, , be transferred to the Complainant.”