The company either didn’t undertake basic research or ignored what it discovered.
A World Intellectual Property Organization panel has found that OBO Bettermann Holding GmbH & Co. KG tried to reverse domain name hijack the domain name obo.com.
The company, which operates websites at obo-bettermann.com and obo.de, filed the dispute against Darren Dittrich. Dittrich registered the domain name over 20 years ago because it’s short for “or best offer.” He forwarded it to his classifieds site sell.com, which he operated until the beginning of 2021.
On this basis alone, there was no chance for OBO Bettermann to win the case. It is clear that the registrant had rights or legitimate interests and didn’t register the domain in bad faith to target the Complainant.
Making matters worse for the Complainant, it turns out that two of its employees reached out to Dittrich in 2017 about buying the domain name. They were rebuffed, but told that he would consider selling the domain name for a six or seven figure sum.
In a supplemental filing, the Complainant said the two employees reached out on their own initiative, suggesting that this was an innocent ommission. Nevertheless, the company’s claim that it just discovered the existence of the domain name in 2023 is laughable given that it’s a three letter domain name matching its brand. And a very basic amount of research would have shown how the domain was previously used.
In finding reverse domain name hijacking, the three-member panel wrote (pdf):
As detailed in the above analysis of the second and third elements, the Panel finds that the Complainant and its Counsel have contravened the above RDNH bases, because they knew or should have known that there was no evidence of the Respondent’s bad faith directed towards the Complainant, making the assertion that the Respondent must have been targeting the Complainant highly unlikely. Finally, as it has been stated in previous decisions, a complainant is at risk of a RDNH declaration when its attempt to try and buy a domain name is not successful, and it tries to obtain it by using, or rather “abusing”, the UDRP.
Paragraph 15(e) of the Policy provides that, if after considering the submissions, the Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith, for example in an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking or to harass the domain-name holder, the Panel shall declare in its decision that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding. The mere lack of success of the complaint is not, on its own, sufficient to constitute reverse domain name hijacking. WIPO Overview 3.0, section 4.16. In the present case for the reasons explained above the Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.
Edoardo Fano, Thomas Hoeren, and Nick Gardner were the panelists.
Rechtsanwaltskanzlei Fuß & Jankord PartG represented the Complainant. Wiley Rein represented the domain name owner.
© DomainNameWire.com 2023. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.