The three letter ETH.com domain name is the subject of a new UDRP proceeding at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The case is WIPO Case D2016-0444. According to NameBio, ETH.com previously sold in 2008 for nearly $20,000.
The complainant is listed as ETH ZÃ¼rich (EidgenÃ¶ssische Technische Hochschule ZÃ¼rich). I have never heard of this organization / company prior to seeing the UDRP filing. I did a Google search for a company with that name, and I believe this company uses the ethz.ch ccTLD domain name for its website.
I did a Whois search for ETH.com, and it shows that the registrant is a Brazilian entity called “CONSTRUTORA NORBERTO ODEBRECHT S/A.” When I typed in ETH.com, the domain name did not resolve. However, when I typed in www.ETH.com, I was forwarded to the OdebrechtAgroindustrial.com website. A historical Whois search at DomainTools shows that this entity appears to have owned ETH.com since at least the beginning of 2008. My assumption is that the company acquired the domain name via Moniker in January of that year assuming the NameBio sale information is accurate.
A press release on one of the company’s associated websites enlightens us to the connection between ETH brand and the company that owns the ETH.com domain name:
“On February 5, ETH Bioenergia assumed a new brand and changed its name to Odebrecht Agroindustrial. Founded in 2007 by the Odebrecht Organization, the company is pursuing the challenge of becoming leader in bioenergy in the country and, during the 2013/2014 harvest, it will invest more than R$ 1 billion in its operations — with 90% of this investment directed at expanding its agricultural area.”
I have no idea why the complainant thinks it has a chance at winning a UDRP proceeding for the domain name. It looks like the owner of the domain name had previously used it, and I would assume they are continuing to use the domain name so their clients who know the former ETH brand aren’t confused.
Unless I am missing something, I have no idea how the complainant even thinks it has a chance to succeed on any of the three tenets of the UDRP let alone all three. I am eager to see the decision.
Update: Decision was rendered and the complaint was denied. It does not appear that the domain owner requested a finding of reverse domain name hijacking, so that was not mentioned in the decision.