A good RDNH decision for redfield.com

Three-person panel points out how domain investing is legitimate.

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Sporting goods retailer Academy, Ltd. has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in a dispute over redfield.com. Redfield is one of the company’s brands.

A domain investor in India acquired the domain name for $8,166.67 at an expired domain name auction in 2021. Academy had inadvertently let the domain name expire, it claimed.

The three-person National Arbitration Forum panel universally found that Academy didn’t show the domain was registered in bad faith and determined that the domain investor had rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.

The language finding reverse domain name hijacking was particularly noteworthy for domain investors:

Complainant and its counsel knew or should have known when they obtained the Complaint Exhibit G reverse WHOIS printout from viewdns.info that this Respondent was very likely a domain investor and that this business is universally accepted as legitimate by UDRP panels.  They also knew or should have known that their REDFIELD mark was relatively weak and in use by many individuals and entities throughout the United States at a minimum.  Any reliance they may have placed upon constructive notice of their rights was utterly without justification in light of the almost universal rejection of that theory by UDRP panels, and they had no basis whatever to suppose that this Respondent had actual knowledge of them or their rights in the REDFIELD mark.  In short, they had no reason to believe they could prove either the Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) or (iii) element of their case.  This Complaint should not have been filed and it was an abuse of the UDRP for Complainant to do so.  It is undisputed that Complainant attempted unsuccessfully to buy the Domain Name from Respondent in the fall of 2022, and this action followed.  For the foregoing reasons the Panel is convinced that Complainant filed this action in bad faith, perhaps as an alternative acquisition strategy, but in any event without any legal or factual basis for its claims.

Darin M. Klemchuk of Klemchuk LLP represented Academy. Ankur Raheja of CyLaw Solutions represented the domain investor.

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