Sometimes when I see a UDRP filing, my first thought is that the domain name seems very generic. This is what I thought when I saw the GlobalVision.com UDRP filing at the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), and it looks like the panelist agreed. This is case # FA1804001783819.
From the opening discussion about the domain name and its history provided by the respondent (domain registrant), it seemed pretty inevitable that the owner would retain the domain name. Here’s what the registrant said:
“Complainant’s GLOBAL VISION is made up of common, generic terms and Complainant may not maintain an exclusive monopoly on such terms.
Respondent has rights and legitimate interests in the domain name dating back to February 22, 1995, when Respondent registered the domain name. The domain name is used by an existing, active company.”
The panelist’s findings section confirms this and also mentions that the complainant tried to buy the domain name in 2016 but was unsuccessful:
“Respondent is SDB Organisation Limited, London, United Kingdom. Respondent registered the disputed domain name in 1995 and has allegedly continuously used it since that time in a variety of manners through its principal company and subsidiaries. One of Respondent’s companies is GlobalVision Inc., which it incorporated in 1992. Respondent was contacted in 2016 by Complainant regarding its desire to purchase Respondent’s domain name, but Complainant declined to sell. Complainant thereafter registered the GLOBAL VISION trademark and brought this UDRP action, requesting that Respondent’s domain name be transferred to Complainant.”
From that alone, it should be very clear that this UDRP could not succeed. The panelist, Darryl C. Wilson, agreed with this and decided in favor of the domain owner. In addition, a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking was considered, and the panelist ruled that this filing warranted a RDNH finding:
“Respondent alleges that Complainant has acted in bad faith and is engaging in reverse domain name hijacking by initiating this dispute. Respondent contends that Complainant is attempting to deprive Respondent, the rightful, registered holder of the domain name, of its rights to use the disputed domain name. Respondent asserts Complainant and Respondent’s companies co-existed for 21 years without issue until 2016, when Complainant made an attempt to purchase the disputed domain name from Respondent, which Respondent refused on the grounds Respondent is an active company. Respondent asserts Complainant subsequently registered a trademark and engaged a legal team to intimidate Respondent by filing the Complaint to illegitimately gain control over the domain. The Panel here finds that Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Panel thus concludes that reverse domain name hijacking has occurred. See NetDepositVerkaik v. Crownonlinemedia.com, D2001-1502 (WIPO Mar. 19, 2002) (“To establish reverse domain name hijacking, Respondent must show knowledge on the part of the complainant of the Respondent’s right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name and evidence of harassment or similar conduct by the Complainant in the fact of such knowledge.”); see also Labrada Bodybuilding Nutrition, Inc. v. Glisson, FA 250232 (Forum May 28, 2004) (finding that complainant engaged in reverse domain name hijacking where it used “the Policy as a tool to simply wrest the disputed domain name in spite of its knowledge that the Complainant was not entitled to that name and hence had no colorable claim under the Policy”).
The Respondent has proven this claim and this Panel finds the complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.”
In my opinion, it is a shame that the domain owner had to deal with a UDRP defense on a long held domain name that had been previously used. Based on what I read, it looks like the panelist got this decision right.