Thorpe Technologies, Inc. tries to reverse hijack

Tech company went after valuable domain registered in 1995.

Picture of a gold skull and crossbones with the words "reverse domain name hijacking"

A California company tried to reverse domain name hijack, a World Intellectual Property Organization panel has found (pdf).

Thorpe Technologies, Inc. filed the case against Gregory Kudasz.

Kudasz registered the domain in 1995, the same year he registered a DBA with the initials JTT.

Thorpe Technologies uses the domain name For a long time, it has used a stylized logo that looks somewhat like “jtt”. If this is what it’s meant to be, it’s unclear what the J proceeding the Thorpe Technologies initials stands for. It filed a trademark application for the figurative mark weeks before filing the UDRP.

The technology company recently found out that was listed for sale for as much as $57,500. Never mind that this seems like a great price for this domain. In its UDRP filing, the Complainant stated:

Given that the Respondent has owned the JTT.COM domain name for multiple years, is demanding an outrageous amount of money for the domain name, but there is no evidence that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name … the Respondent’s registration and use of the JTT.COM domain name has clearly been in bad faith.

Panelist Scott Blackmer disagreed. He found that Thorpe Technologies did not show the Respondent lacked legitimate rights or interests in the domain, nor did it show it was registered and used in bad faith.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, Blackmer wrote:

Here, the Complaint is clearly deficient. The Complainant is not a large enterprise, and it operates in a niche market selling to industrial customers. The Respondent registered the three-letter Domain Name 26 years ago, less than a year after the Complainant says it began using its unregistered design logo. It should have been clear that the Complainant would have to establish that its logo quickly acquired distinctiveness to serve as a common law mark and also a national reputation, and that the Respondent more likely than not meant to attack this mark in 1996. But the Complaint makes no serious effort to address these issues. The Complainant focuses on the fact that the Respondent offers the Domain Name for a large amount of money, but this is no surprise considering that it is a three-letter “.com” domain name. A UDRP complainant cannot simply overlook the question of whether there were trademark rights at the time of the domain name
registration and whether it was likely that the respondent meant to exploit them.

The Panel finds that the Complainant brought the Complaint in bad faith, within the meaning of Rule 15(e), in an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking,

Churovich Law, LLC represented the Complainant. The Responded was self-represented.

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