I was just made aware of a mind boggling UDRP filing. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has filed a UDRP for the ABC.net domain name. The filing was made at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and it is WIPO Case D2019-1181.
ABC.net was created in 1995. It was probably one of the earliest .net domain names created that still retains its original registration date. A Whois record for the domain name shows the domain name is registered to someone in Ontario, Canada. Using DomainTools’ historical Whois tool, it looks like the domain name was registered to the same person back in 2000 (the earliest archived Whois record at DomainTools). At that time, the domain name was registered to an entity called ABC Computer Networks Inc., and the registrant contact is the same person who is the current registrant.
With a UDRP filing like this, you might think the domain name has clearly infringing content on it to make the Australian Broadcasting Corporation believe it has the rights to take possession of this domain name via the UDRP process. From what I can see on the landing page, it looks like an image of a city skyline with a “for sale” message in the foreground:
“The domain name ABC.NET is now available for sale. We’re currently accepting offers for this ultra premium domain name. If you would like to make an offer or discuss available options, please contact us directly at:”
Using the DomainTools historical screenshot tool, I do not see any instances of past infringement (like links referencing that company or competitors, for example).
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation uses the ccTLD ABC.net.au domain name for its website. I presume it wants the easier to remember ABC.net domain name so it doesn’t have to worry about misdirected email to the .net domain name or lost traffic. If that is the case and it is a concern, this entity should buy the valuable domain name instead of using the UDRP process to try and take it.
I may not know all of the details about the domain name or the UDRP beyond what I can see, but I see nothing that would lead me to believe the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be able to win the UDRP. In fact, I would be surprised if a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) is not made based solely on what I can see here.
I will keep my eyes on this UDRP proceeding and share an update when it concludes.
Update: According to the WIPO website, the complaint was denied. The decision is not yet published, so I do not know how this decision or if a finding of RDNH was made.