Binance wins domain name, which loser bought for $300k

Guy who bought domain name for $300k in 2021 loses cybersquatting dispute.

Binance logo has stylized diamond graphic over the word "Binance" in yellow

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has won a cybersquatting claim for the domain name, and the domain owner is about to be out $300,000.

Kirill Zalipaev acquired the domain name through Sedo in November 2021 for a whopping $300,000. I was puzzled at the time because I could not find a connection between Zalipaev and Binance.

It turns out there was none, and Zalipaev bought the domain, hoping to sell it to Binance for even more money.

According to the dispute, Zalipaev contacted Binance through an intermediary in July 2022, offering to sell the domain name for $1,447,000. He then reached out nearly a year later, asking $1,466,677.

When Binance contacted him directly via email, Zalipaev suggested a different price that was still over $1 million.

Binance subsequently filed a cybersquatting dispute (pdf) under the .ae Domain Name Policy.

It appears that Zalipaev is not well-versed in trademarks and the .ae policy. World Intellectual Property Organization panelist Scott Blackmer summarized:

The Respondent does not contest the Complainant’s trademark claims but argues that the .ae Domain Name Policy “does not condition the title of ownership of a domain based on the principle of ownership of trademarks”. Hence, the Respondent (who is not represented by legal counsel) states his belief that he has not violated the Complainant’s intellectual property rights.

On the issue of registration or use in bad faith, Blackmer noted:

The Respondent’s emails show that he recognized the value of the disputed domain name to the Complainant. From his Response, it seems that the Respondent was under the mistaken impression that he was operating in a trademark-free zone, but he was not. He would have been better advised to be, well, better advised.

Indeed, Zalipaev did not hire a lawyer to defend the cybersquatting case. And he just lost a domain he paid $300,000 for.

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