A company called Olsen Holding GmbH of Hamburg, Germany filed a UDRP against the Olsen.com domain name. The UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Olsen.com currently forwards to PerfectName.com where there is a landing page offering the domain name for sale for what I believe is a reasonable price of $68,680.98.
Although the domain owner did not respond to the UDRP complaint and put up an active defense, the panelist (Dawn Osborne) ruled against the complainant. The rationale for ruling in favor of the domain owner is that Olsen is a common last name and the complainant did not show evidence that the domain name was registered to target the complainant.
The most important aspect of the decision can be found in the section involving registration and use of the domain name in bad faith:
“However, even without this assistance it is a matter of judicial notice that “Olsen” is a common surname in certain parts of Europe and this registration was an early registration which has been extant for over 20 years. The Complainant has not shown on the balance of probabilities or provided any evidence that it was targeted by the registration and that this was not just a registration of a common surname for sale to anyone with an interest in that surname (and not just the Complainant or its competitors), in which case not using it and offering it for sale for a sum substantially above the out of pocket costs of registration of the Domain Name would not be in contravention of the Policy and would not be bad faith.”
As you can imagine, I agree with the panelist in this decision. I don’t think this company would have any more rights to Olsen.com than any other company with Olsen in its name. Even people with the Olsen last name might have the same rights as the complainant. Just because the complainant spent money to file the UDRP should not mean that they are given this domain name when there are many other entities who would likely have an equal (but failing) claim to the name.
People who own surname domain names should keep this decision in mind if they are ever threatened with a UDRP. It is nice to see a panelist rule in favor of a domain owner and affirm the right to have a domain name listed for sale.