Swiss watchmaker alleges is stolen, but loses cybersquatting claim

The current owner likely has clean hands.

A picture of a Century Watch.
Watchmaker Century says the domain name century .com was stolen from it, but a WIPO panel found in favor of the current owner—image from website.

Swiss watchmaker Century Time Gems Ltd has lost a cybersquatting dispute it filed against the domain name

In a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) filing, the company said it acquired the domain name in 2006 for a six-figure sum. It subsequently used the domain name and said it attracted over 2.5 million visits since then.

But something happened in late 2022. According to DomainTools historical Whois records, the domain name moved from Tucows reseller Funio on December 18 to registrar Name SRS AB by December 21.

The current owner, Century Aluminum, says it acquired the domain name in July of this year. This is reflected in Whois records that show the domain name moved to GoDaddy at that time.

Century Aluminum says it bought the domain name from another party and provided a copy of an invoice. Other details of the acquisition are scant in the WIPO decision.

This may well be a situation in which a legitimate company acquired a domain name that had been stolen from another party.

Either way, the analysis that would need to be conducted — and the repercussions should the current owner indeed have purchased a “hot” domain — is outside the scope of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. Therefore, panelist Steven Maier denied the claim.

Hopefully, this will serve as a lesson to corporations that own valuable domain names. If you spend six figures for a domain name, you need to add security to it to prevent its unauthorized transfer. Verisign’s Registry Lock would have likely prevented this alleged theft.

FMP Fuhrer Marbach & Partners represented the Complainant, and Frost Brown Todd LLC represented the Respondent.

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