No Joke: UDRP Filed Against Joking.com (Update)

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A UDRP was filed against the generic one word Joking.com domain name at the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) today. The case can be found via UDRPSearch.com (confirmed on the NAF website), and it is case #1890577. You will note that this article is being published on April 2, so it is not an April Fool’s Day joke.

Joking.com was created in January of 1997, making it over 23 years old. The domain name is currently registered under privacy proxy at Name.com. At the time of publication, Joking.com does not resolve to an active website of any sort.

Using DomainTools Whois History tool, I was able to see that the domain name recently transferred from NameCheap to Name.com. While at NameCheap, the domain name was also registered under Whois privacy. Using NameBio, I can see that Joking.com was reportedly sold at Sedo on March 10, 2020 for a reported $5,750.

Because the NAF does not report the name of the UDRP complainant until a decision is rendered, it is unclear who filed the UDRP. Because it is a generic one word .com domain name, it is unclear why a UDRP was filed against this domain name. It does not appear to be in use yet by the registrant, so I don’t know how registration and bad faith can be proven.

I will keep my eye on this UDRP to see how it is decided.

Updated: The UDRP was decided in favor of the complainant, but it had reportedly been stolen from the complainant. From the decision:

“The Panel finds that, at the time Respondent acquired the Domain Name, which was approximately March 1, 2020 Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s JOKING.COM mark. In the absence of any response by Respondent, the Panel accepts Complainant’s evidence that Respondent fraudulently hacked into Complainant’s account for the purpose of transferring the Domain Name to itself (without Complainant’s permission), in order to sell the Domain Name on a public website for a profit. Such conduct could not be carried out other than with awareness of Complainant. In the absence of rights or legitimate interests of its own this demonstrates registration in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).

The Panel finds that Respondent registered and uses the Domain Name in bad faith as Respondent because Respondent, immediately after fraudulently transferring the Domain Name from Complainant to itself, offered to sell the domain name (and indeed apparently sold the Domain Name for $5,750, though transfer has not occurred due to this issue) through a public auction. A general offer for sale can evince bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(i). See Capital One Financial Corp. v. haimin xu, FA 1819364 (Forum Jan. 8, 2019) (“A general offer to sell a domain name can be evidence the respondent intended to make such an offer at the time it registered the name, supporting a finding of bad faith per Policy ¶ 4(b)(i).”).. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent registered and uses the Domain Name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i).

Furthermore, a respondent stealing a registration from a complainant, as appears to have occurred in this case, also amounts to bad faith registration and use under the Policy. See Stepp Mfg. Co. Inc. v. Protection of Private Person, FA 1686520 (Forum Sept. 9, 2016) (finding bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) in a respondent’s apparent hacking into a complainant’s account and stealing registration of the disputed domain.).”

6 COMMENTS

  1. No trademark seems to exist for joking. It is generic, as you mentioned. Yet, the registrant needs to provide a proper response or pay an attorney to respond for them. Frivolous cases still have costs for the domain owners. This type of udrp abuse is unacceptable.

  2. Just as before, some one wants the domain but is not willing to pay the price or the old owner doesn’t want to sell it to them. Before this it is not open for UDRP since it is already an old domain. And then when it is sold, they think that they can own the domain trough UDRP process.

  3. Perhaps it was stolen and then fraudulently sold on Sedo. Maybe the innocent buyer on Sedo refused to give it/sell it to the victimized owner and now the victimized owner is using the wrong mechanism to get his or her domain name returned.

  4. The auction ended on 03/10/20 but the whois hasn’t been updated since then. I’m guessing the transaction hasn’t gone through. I thought it was a good price at the time for the buyer.

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