Visions.com WIPO – Big Risk Rewarded

6

Weather Shield Mfg., Inc., of Medford, Wisconsin filed a WIPO for the domain name Visions.com, owned by Lori Phan. In a decision reached on October 10, 2007, the single WIPO panelist found in favor of the Respondent, and the complaint was denied.

I believe the domain owner took a risk by not requesting a 3 member panel. Although she did a great job of presenting her case, it could have easily gone the other way based on some previous decisions. I think it is always best to ask (and pay) for a 3 member WIPO panel because it means the Complainant needs to convince 2 of 3 people that they are right. Having a single panelist is more risky, in my opinion, especially for a high value name like Visions.com.

If the domain name is worth much more than the cost of the 3 member WIPO panel, I would think it would be best to request it.

6 COMMENTS

  1. How much does a 3 member panel cost roughly?

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    Acccording to the WIPO website:

    “For a case filed with the WIPO Center involving between 1 and 5 domain names that is to be decided by a single Panelist, the fee is USD1500. For a case that is to be decided by 3 Panelists, the fee is USD4000.”

  2. UDRP really needs to be rewritten to somehow avoid ridiculous cases like this. It just makes anyone with good generic domain names a walking target for anyone with $1,500 who wants to play URDP lottery.

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    EXACTLY! Even though the majority of these cases are rightfully won by the Respondent, it could still cost upwards of $10,000 to defend it. The legal fees will run somewhere around $5,000 from what I hear, and paying for a 3 person panel instead of 1 can run a few thousand dollars. It really sucks.

    This is one of the main reasons why development is becoming more important. I think companies would be more reticent to go after a generic domain name that is developed than a parked page. A developed website looks more legitimate, and most companies would probably respect this. I think alot of companies look at parked pages as “wasted,” even though precidents have been set saying otherwise.

    I would rather spend $10,000 building a website/business than a similar amount defending a parked page.

  3. Seems to be a HUGE opportunity for a parking company; eg, offer “protection” to generic-owners for say $10/year. Create a pool. Contract with pitbull lawyers to countersue for millions…business disruption, stalking, plus whatever other complaints can be imagined.

    If this approach is used against businesses (commercial entities), I would suggest the cost of the “discovery” process alone, will cause many to forego any action that can be judged to be “without merit.” (The Court requests you turn over copies of all correspondence – both paper and electronic – for the last 2 years, etc.)

    Only when reverse-hijackers are forced to pay, will this practice (we used to call it piracy) be eliminated, imho.

  4. Really appreciate you covering these WIPO/UDRP cases on your blog. It’s important to be aware of/know about these cases if you’re a domainer.

  5. Unfortunately the URDP Complainant’s can plead whatever they feel will get WIPO’s attention. In doing so, the burden of proof is on the Respondent (me in this case) and so is the cost. It cost almost two hundred dollars just to snail mail the minimal Reponse that I did. My original (unedited for shipping costs) response was much more detailed but I simply could not afford to mail it overseas. Much less the $3000 to upgrade to a Three Member Panel. 🙁

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    Congrats on winning the decision and thanks for writing. It’s scary to think how easily someone can file a UDRP against a generic domain name.

Leave a Reply