UDRP Filed Against PayPals.com “Gripe Site” (Updated)

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A UDRP was filed against the PayPals.com domain name at the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). The UDRP is case #1740061, and because it was filed at the NAF, I can only assume that the UDRP was filed by PayPal since the complainant is not revealed until the decision is published. Once the decision is published, we will know for certain who filed this UDRP.

Judging solely by the name PayPals.com and not looking at how the domain name is being used, one might assume PayPal would have a strong case. PayPal owns quite a few trademarks, and one might look at this and say it should be a win for PayPal. As with many legal situations, there seems to be much more to this story, and I do not think this will be a cut and dry case (assuming PayPal is the complainant).

PayPals.com was created in 2003. According to DomainTools, back then, the domain name was owned by the late Igal Lichtman, whose company is called Mrs Jello, LLC. Another DomainTools Whois History tool search shows that the domain name appears to have been acquired by the current registrant sometime in 2005. From what I can see, the domain name was registered privately until very recently, and privacy was likely removed due to the UDRP filing. It is interesting that it has taken so long for the UDRP to be filed.

This doesn’t appear to be a standard UDRP case. From what I can see, it appears the owner of the domain name is using PayPals.com as a gripe site. Here’s a brief excerpt from the homepage of PayPals.com:

“Welcome to the world’s largest eBay and PayPal consumer gripe site network! Have you been burned by PayPal or eBay? Join the club! No, we are not here to just sit around and complain.”

Judging by the logo on PayPals.com, it looks like it is affiliated with PayPalSucks.com, which seems to have the same (or similar) content.

I think the panelists are going to have a difficult time with this decision. From what I recall, I think there have been UDRP cases where domain names have been retained by the owner because they are being used in a legitimate manner (First Amendment) despite having a trademark or containing the name of a well known person. PayPal has a strong UDRP record,  but this is definitely going to be an interesting UDRP to follow.

Update: PayPal prevailed in this UDRP decision.

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