I occasionally take issue with a UDRP panelist for one reason or another, but today I want to compliment WIPO panelist Desmond J. Ryan for a job well done.
A UDRP was filed against the Zoyo.com domain name at WIPO, and the domain registrant did not respond to the complaint. Fortunately for the registrant, the single panelist ruled in its favor and the registrant will be able to keep the domain name.
I say it is fortunate because of what was stated in the UDRP, particularly Section 5 (Parties’ Contentions). From the decision:
“(v) The Complainant’s assertion that the Respondent’s claim that the disputed domain name was bought “a few years ago” is false and in bad faith as the WhoIs shows that it was acquired by the Respondent on April 18, 2018.”
Here is a screenshot of the current Whois record via GoDaddy:
Here is a screenshot of a historical Whois record from March of 2011, courtesy of DomainTools:
Maybe I am missing something, but these two records appear to show the same information. Assuming this is correct and the registrant has owned the domain name for at least several years, the registrant is lucky the panelist did not make a decision based on this and rule in favor of the complainant.
Interestingly, it was also reported that the domain owner bought the name for $10,000 and was willing to sell it for that amount. From the decision:
“I bought it for $10,000 a few years ago. I will sell it for $10,000 take it or leave it. No negotiation. Please let me know how you would like to proceed”.
In my opinion, $10,000 for Zoyo.com is a very fair price, and I would not be surprised to see a name like that sell at a domain investor auction for that price. According to NameBio, Zoyo.com sold via Sedo in May of 2008 for $9,292. A historical Whois record at DomainTools shows the domain name was registered to Sedo in May of 2008 and then went private until 2011.
Ultimately, the panelist denied the complaint and gave the following explanation:
“The disputed domain name was registered in April, 2002. The Complainant was not incorporated until March, 2018 and its trade mark rights date from February, 2018. Accordingly, there appears no basis upon which the Panel could conclude that the original registration was made in bad faith or with the intention of targeting the Complainant. The Complainant, however, contends that the Respondent acquired the disputed domain name only on April 2, 2018 and cites the WhoIs for the disputed domain name for this proposition; however, the Panel is unable to find anything in the WhoIs to establish the Complainant’s contention. The only indication is that the WhoIs states that it was updated on April 2, 2018, but without further evidence, that does not establish that the updating was to record the acquisition of the disputed domain name by the Respondent on that date. On the face of it therefore the Complainant has failed to establish that the Respondent’s statement in response to the Complainant’s enquiry that it acquired the disputed domain name “some years ago” is false. On the basis of the evidence presently available therefore, the Panel is unable to find that the disputed domain name has been registered in an attempt to target the Complainant in bad faith. The Panel further notes that the Complainant states that it requires the disputed domain name for use as part of the expansion and development of its business. This would seem to indicate that the Complaint has been filed as simply a part of its business expansion plan and perhaps indicates that the Complainant does not fully understand the nature and purpose of the Policy.
Despite what has been said above, if the facts are that the Respondent did not acquire the disputed domain name until April, 2018, at a time when there was considerable activity and perhaps publicity in relation to the establishment of the Complainant’s group, that might paint a different picture. Accordingly, on the basis of the evidence before the Panel on the present record, the Panel proposes to deny the Complaint but to do so without prejudice to the filing of a new Complaint should evidence become available to support the Complainant’s contentions in relation to the Respondent’s identity and acquisition of the disputed domain name.”