In late May, a UDRP was filed at WIPO against the seemingly generic CheapStuff.com domain name. The filing was made after the domain name apparently expired and was auctioned on NameJet, where it achieved a sale price of $3,875. The UDRP decision was sent out today, and the respondent won. In addition, a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) was made. Attorney John Berryhill represented the domain registrant in this proceeding, and the WIPO panelist was John Swinson.
In looking over the decision, I can see the complainant cited the recent Booking.com trademark Supreme Court decision in a supplemental filing. As John mentioned on Twitter, this will likely be a regular occurrence domain registrants will need become accustomed to seeing in UDRP defenses going forward:
I get the feeling this is going to be a regular feature of UDRP proceedings from now on… pic.twitter.com/WexRbjR1t1
— John Berryhill (@Berryhillj) July 3, 2020
There were many reasons for why this UDRP failed. From a generic domain name perspective, the panel saw this as two generic terms that work together to form a generic and non-distinctive phrase:
“The Complainant used the Disputed Domain Name to sell or market cheap goods. The Disputed Domain Name consists of two common, correctly spelled English words. The Complainant’s “CHEAP STUFF” mark is neither arbitrary nor particularly distinctive. “
In addition to this, the panel also reiterated that asking for a lot of money for a domain name would not be considered bad faith, although the panel did not seem to believe the complainant’s story regarding a purported offer to sell the domain name:
“If the Respondent did request USD 150,000 from the Complainant, it was in response to a request for an offer from the Complainant. Such a response to a request for an offer does not, in this case, demonstrate bad faith. However, after careful review of the emails provided by the Complainant, the Panel does not find the Complainant’s account credible and concludes that no such offer was made by the Respondent.”
The panel made a sharp rebuke at the complainant in the discussion about Reverse Domain Name Hijacking:
“The Panel’s jurisdiction ends with this Decision, but the Respondent may have reason to report Complainant’s representative who certified the Complaint to the appropriate (e.g., bar association or otherwise) authorities.”
It remains to be seen if the domain registrant will pursue this further, but the domain name will remain with the domain registrant.
If you look at the WIPO landing page for this UDRP case, it incorrectly states the decision as “Transfer.” I have seen the actual UDRP decision and this status is not correct. I presume WIPO will update this either later on today or when the decision is published on its website.