Hey panelists: you can find RDNH even if the domain owner doesn’t respond

This case was doomed from the outset. Why no reverse domain name hijacking finding?

Blue image with the letters UDRP

Some UDRP panelists are hesitant to enter a finding of reverse domain name hijacking. They’ll only consider it if the domain owner asks for it, and sometimes even ignore the request when asked.

So these panelists definitely won’t consider reverse domain name hijacking when the domain owner doesn’t show up to defend himself. Even if it’s warranted.

Consider a recent National Arbitration Forum case over vanderhall.com. Vanderhall Motor Works, Inc. filed the dispute. It makes electric vehicles and uses the domain VanderhallUSA.com.

The case was dead on arrival for two reasons. First, the registrant acquired the domain before the Complainant’s first claimed rights in the trademark Vanderhall. Second, the registrant’s name is Pim van der Hall. The Complainant might not have known the registrant’s identity when it filed the case, but this would have been revealed before filing the amended complaint naming the Respondent.

This means the second two elements of UDRP — legitimate interests and registration and use in bad faith — were doomed to failure.

Panelist Nicholas J.T. Smith correctly dismissed the case. But why not consider reverse domain name hijacking in such a poor filing?

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