Why do people still cybersquat ? That was a question posed a couple of weeks back on Namepros, and while I am not advocating it any way, I am going to give an example of how it still pays off in 2014.
PluralSight.in sold on Wednesday for $16,000. The domain was registered in July of 2013, by a gentleman in China who just listed himself as Jeff. No last name, just Jeff. Well just Jeff regged pluralsight.in which has several live trademarks, some before the name was registered and others registered after the domain registration.
The company Plural Sight was written up on Tech Crunch back in 2012 when it announced its first funding from the outside world. The company took in $27.5 million.
From the article:
Pluralsight, an online training resource targeting professional developers, is today announcing its first outside funding, courtesy of a $27.5 million investment from Insight Venture Partners. The additional capital will help Pluralsight fund the expansion of its course library and will be used for hiring.
Salt Lake City-based Pluralsight was founded back in 2004 by Aaron Skonnard (CEO), Fritz Onion (Editor in Chief), Keith Brown (CTO), and Bill Williams (who’s no longer there). The company got its start as a classroom training outfit that once involved sending out an instructor to a business or having employees attend a training event. Three years in, it shifted the business model from in-person training to online learning.
Read the full story here
The company has been active on the acquisition front as well, they purchased Digital Tutors for $45 million back in April.
So did being in China and just having the name Jeff help the .in registrant ? Perhaps the company figured it was simpler to purchase the name on a trusted exchange like Sedo, than to file a UDRP and have to deal with a registrant in another part of the world.
$16,000 is a significant amount of money for a handreg in the .in extension, only two .in extensions have sold for that much or better in 2013 or 2014 (Domains.in $40,000, Yum.in $16,000).
So while there is great risk in regging names like this and it is not recommended by anyone here, it sometimes pays off as the registrant gets what they were hoping for, the perfect buyer that has a lot of cash, who will just buy the domain.
Sin Spirits LLC represented by George M. Dipp, Texas has been found Guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) making it the third RDNH ruling of the day which must be a record, on the domain name SinVodka.com
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on November 9, 1997 as evidenced by the Whois records.
Complainant makes four attempts to negotiate a purchase of the disputed domain name at Domainsales and Sedo.com on May 6, May 10, May 12 and May 27, 2014, but does not agree to the price offer and thus fails to negotiate the sale of the domain of interest.
On May 8, 2014 Complainant registered the legal entity Sin Spirits LLC with the Texas Secretary of State.
On May 14, 2014, namely more than 6 years after the registration of the disputed domain name by Respondent and shortly after the negotiations for sales of the disputed domain name broke off, Complainant filed a trademark application (Serial No. 86280743) to the USPTO seeking for registration of the “SIN SPIRITS” trademark in class 33, particularly for distilled spirits, spirits, spirits and liquors, vodka.
This is not only because the mere filing of a trademark application which has not been examined (namely no issuance took place) does not confer trademark rights under the Policy (See ECG European City Guide v. Woodell, FA 183897 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 14, 2003), and thus is not sufficient to establish rights in a trademark necessary to satisfy Policy 4 (a)(i), but also because no evidence could be submitted by Complainant showing that it might hold any common law rights based on prior use of the “SIN SPIRITS” trademark as the USPTO records clearly show that the application was filed based on an intent to use. Moreover, nowhere in his submission does Complainant allege that he has been using the mark or might have been known under this mark.
Thus, taking into account that registration of the disputed domain by Respondent, significantly pre-dating the trademark filing by Complainant, cannot be treated as the registration in bad faith, and further research into the second element of the Policy also makes no sense as Complainant, having not established the first element of the Policy, has no ground to allege that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain, the Panel decides to decline further analysis of the other two elements of the Policy.
Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
Having found that
- the registration of the domain significantly pre-dates trademark filing by Complainant (which, as mentioned before, does not confer trademark rights to Complainant) and of which Complainant was well aware when he brought the present complaint, and
- the trademark filing was made, and the present complaint was filed following unsuccessful attempts to negotiate sales of the disputed domain,
The Panel has come to a conclusion that the complaint was filed in bad faith, abusing the Policy in order to acquire the domain name, and thus such activities of Complainant qualify for an attempt of reverse domain name hijacking in the meaning of Rule 1 of the UDRP Policy.
CITY BANK (not CitiBank) whose site is CityBankOnline.com and CityBankTexas.com, represented by Kristi Dent of Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated, Texas, USA was just found guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH). The domain in question was CityBank.com.
The three member panel UDRP panel of Fernando Triana, Esq, James A. Carmodym, and Dennis A. Foster, Esq said on the issue of RDNH:
“”In the present case, the disputed domain name was registered in 1995, with a business model based on pay-per-click advertisement. Complainant registered its domain names in 1998 and 1999, which means that at least on those dates Complainant should have known that the disputed domain name was not available and neglected to proceed against it, until 2014, which is 15 years after Complainant should have known of the existence of a conflict.
Furthermore, Complainant did not provide any evidence as to prove its trademark rights regarding the expression CITY BANK and tried to confuse the Panel regarding Respondent’s bad faith, as the Complaint asserted that Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain name for over USD $180,000, when from the exchanged emails it is obvious that Respondent was not offering the disputed domain name but responding to an offer from Complainant, and simply informed Complainant that a third party had offered to pay for the disputed domain name USD $180,000, and that in fact Respondent refrained itself from selling it.
Finally, Complainant’s long delay in bringing this action is another factor supporting a finding of its bad faith.
The fact that Complainant filed this proceeding nearly 15 years after Complainant should have known of the existence of the disputed domain name and over 18 years after the disputed domain name registration, suggests that Complainant knew it had a very weak claim and nevertheless filed its UDRP Complaint in bad faith.””
A three member UDRP panel has found Dealhunter A/S of Frederiksberg, Denmark, represented by Aumento, Denmark guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) on the domain name DealHunter.com
The domain holder was represented by Ari Goldberger and Jason Schaeffer of ESQwire.com
The domain name was registered in 1998.
The Complainant was incorporated in 2007 and first registered its domain name dealhunter.dk domain name in 2010.
The company didn’t even file for the trademark DEALHUNTER until 2013.
The Complainant offered a whopping $5K and then $7K for the domain which offers were rejected.
The panel that consisted of Nicholas Smith, Daniel Kraus and The Hon Neil Brown Q.C. found:
“In the view of the Panel this is a Complaint which should never have been launched.”
“The Complainant knew that the Domain Name was registered nearly 9 years before the Complainant came into existence and close to 15 years before it acquired any registered rights in the DEALHUNTER Mark.
It made two offers to purchase the Domain Name, and following the rejection of those offers and the registration of the DEALHUNTER Mark, chose to bring this Complaint.
The Complainant made no attempt to demonstrate the existence of any earlier rights.
Furthermore, it its entirely unclear, given the Respondent is based in the United States and was not using the Domain Name to provide a service similar to the services for which the Complainant registered the DEALHUNTER Mark, which of the Complainant’s trade mark rights the Respondent was allegedly violating.
Given the nature of the Policy and previously decided cases on this issue, this, along with any other arguments that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith, were arguments that had no reasonable prospects of success.
The Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.”
The panel also had some very good language which supports the first come first served nature of domain registrations and that quoting a price does not amount to bad faith.
“The Domain Name was registered in 1998. The Complainant was incorporated in 2007, it registered its
“The Complainant has argued that bad faith registration and use can be found by the fact that the Respondent is seeking to sell the Domain Name, received offers from the Complainant and rejected them.”
“These arguments are unpersuasive to this Panel.”
“The Complainant’s submission that an offer to sell a domain name for valuable consideration in excess of the documented out-of-pocket costs conclusively establishes that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith is an incorrect reading of the Policy.”
According to a post on the site of the law firm Lewis & Lin, the domain owner of MyArt.com who lost a UDRP in April, filed a lawsuit in federal court and not only stopped the transfer of the domain name but got an award of statutory damages, attorney’s fees and litigation costs.
David Lin, Esq. writing on his firm’s site in a post entitled: “Reverse Domain Hijacking Defendants Consent to Judgement” says:
“After losing a UDRP proceeding by default, the owners of MyArt.com retained Lewis & Lin to stop the transfer of the domain name under ICANN rules.
Lewis & Lin immediately filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against My Art SAS, a French company engaged in the sale of artwork, and its principal shareholder. Our complaint sought relief for reverse domain name hijacking under the Lanham Act, as well as related state unfair competition claims.
Barely a month after being served with the complaint, defendants issued an offer of judgment consenting to all of the declaratory relief that we sought on behalf of our client.
Defendants also offered a monetary judgment in an amount that included statutory damages, attorney’s fees and litigation costs. The offer of judgment was accepted and judgment was entered in favor of our client.
This case illustrates that a UDRP loss has absolutely no bearing on subsequent litigation between the same parties and the same domain name. A UDRP panel’s decision, which is not based on U.S. trademark law, will be entitled to no deference, and will have no preclusive effect in a federal court case. For domain name registrants who fall victim to the efforts of reverse domain hijackers attempting to seize a domain in the UDRP process, there is hope to recover a hijacked domain.
Simply by filing a federal lawsuit and requiring the attempted hijacker to defend their actions, a domain name registrant can keep what’s rightfully theirs. For more information on reverse domain hijacking and the UDRP, contact David Lin at Lewis & Lin LLC.”
We are thrilled that a domain name owner stood up for his rights, took the horrible UDRP decision to court and not only quickly got the transfer of the domain name stopped but also got damages, attorney fees and costs.
Big congrats to
Before you check out the two domains subject to the UDRP, I should mention that you better be over 18 and have a strong tolerance for some serious adult material that appears immediately as soon as the sites load.
The domain names are fully developed adult sites and which are not commonly the types of domains that get hit with a UDRP: parked pages, sites which use adsense, gripe sites, domains that do not resolve.com and domains that are for sale,
It would appear that Pinterest is basing its UDRP claim on the word Pin combined with another dictionary word and “sex” and “gay”.
Unfortunately unlike court cases, pleadings to UDRP cases are not public so we will have to wait until the decision comes out to see what the WIPO panel has to say, but for now it appears that Pinterest thinks its has rights to any site with pictures and/or videos that at least starts with the word “Pin”
We will let you know how this one turns out.
The case number is D2014-1067 and was filed on June 21.
Jerry G. Roper of Payson, of Utah just lost his attempt to grab two domain names about a generic as they get; Bleachstains.com and Carpetbleachstains.com
BleachStains.com was registered in 2006
The domain owner was Dave Chretien and Color Spot Carpet of Torrance, California, US.
The Complainant which didn’t have a trademark but a patent
In October 2000, Complainant began selling a system for repairing permanent stains either caused by carpet color loss or from additional color added.
Complainant contends he sold that system using the domain name bleachstain.com and used the phrase “bleach stain carpet repair” in describing the process.
In March 2003, Complainant received a United States patent on the process (U.S. Patent No. 6,533,824 (’824 Patent)) – Method for Restoring Original Color to Bleached Regions of Nylon Carpets).
Complainant asserts that “Bleachstain.com” has been associated commercially and with a website for over 13 years and should be regarded as a non-registered trademark based on the continued commercial use during these 13 plus years.
The use of the domain name bleachstain.com does not describe what Complainant does nor does it accurately describe discoloration of a carpet. Complainant chose this domain name from the phrase “bleach stain carpet repair”.
Complainant used this phrase to distinguish himself from the competitor at the very startup of his business. The “Bleach Stain” word usage greatly increased after Complainant advertised the term “Bleach Stain Carpet Repair. Bleach spills, bleached out spots and bleach marks were the common terminology in describing carpet color loss, according to Complainant.
Because Complainant was involved in the bleaching of stains and not just dyeing spots with an eyedropper, Complainant used the term “bleach stain carpet repair” as a name for his business. This phrase relates to bleaching out impossible stains and then color correcting the area. This is mentioned in the ’824 Patent.
Complainant’s domain name is unique in that it is the only carpet dye company selling a patented process for carpet color restoration. Complainant’s method has changed the industry and the way carpet color repair is preformed worldwide. Complainant was the first company to sell and advertise carpet color repair for the homeowner. Shortly after starting business in 2001 Complainant’s website stated in part:
According to Complainant KIK CUSTOM PRODUCTS (http://www.kikcorp.com) makes a variety of consumer products (e.g., shampoos, soaps, body lotions, sunscreens, household bleach, and cleansers) that can remove color from a carpet. Complainant claims that KIK CUSTOM PRODUCTS has recommended and will continue recommending “bleachstain.com” to their consumers for color correction of stains caused by these products.
Complainant contends he had a unique business that clearly defined his product and service for the consumer. Complainant further contends that there is now a great amount of confusion from consumers regarding services offered by
Not only are the domain names similar in sound and spelling but Respondents have recently used the term, “carpet bleach stain repair” in most of their advertisement listings, according to Complainant.
Within the last year, Respondents have produced 23 YouTube videos with most of these having the title “carpet bleach stain repair”. Respondents’ use of the term “Carpet Bleach Stain Repair” and the domain name
Complainant contends that Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names. Respondent Chretien does not have any rights superior to the common law rights of the name “bleachstain.com”, in the United States or elsewhere.
Complainant contends that Respondents registered and are using the Domain Names in bad faith. Respondent Chretien knowingly registered the Domain Name
In its Complaint, Complainant states that his domain name
Complainant alleges that in October 2000, he began selling a system for repairing permanent stains either caused by carpet color loss or from additional color added. He sold that system on a website having the associated domain name
Complainant also alleges on that early website he used the phrase “bleach stain carpet repair” in describing the process.
Indeed, he did use that descriptive phrase to describe a “NEW and Improved method for restoring color to regions of missing color on nylon carpet.” The phrase “bleach stain carpet repair” was not used as a trademark on the website. Complainant did not provide the Panel with evidence of its use of “bleachstain.com” for the last thirteen years on his company website.
Complainant points to a company called KIK CUSTOM PRODUCTS that makes a variety of consumer products, which can remove color from a carpet. The company has recommended Complainant’s bleach stain removal product to their consumers for color correction of stains caused by their products. Regardless of the success KIK’s customers might have had with Complainant’s product this complement does not establish that “bleachstain.com” has become a distinctive mark. Complainant also claims that its patented system is sold throughout the world with many positive independent reviews, including selling on Amazon and eBay, with a high rating. These conclusory remarks also are not evidence to prove any use of “bleachstain.com” as a trademark.
Under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, Complainant must prove that the Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights. Because Complainant has not carried his burden on this element, the Panel need not decide whether Complainant has met his burden on the other elements.
For the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied.
Inter123 Corporation lost its bid to grab the domain name mobile.co who was represented by David D. Lin of Lewis & Lin LLC, New York.
The Complainant launched its website in March 2013 at mobile.pro, to provide an online community for mobile communications industry professionals and filed a trademark on the term Mobile.co on March 20, 2014.
Its a pretty interesting case in terms of dealing between the parties but pretty disappointing in terms of the result for the reader as they panel found the complainant having been granted the trademark they applied for in 2013 had to rely on a common law trademark which the panel found the could not estiblish
Here are the highlights of the three member panel decision:
In early 2014, Complainant learned that the disputed domain name was for sale through the domain name auction site at Sedo.com.
A third party, Chadi Ghaith, had registered the disputed domain name and it was hosted on GoDaddy LLC’s server.
Complainant negotiated with Ghaith for purchase of the disputed domain name and reached an agreed price of $59,000.
Ghaith then sent Complainant a “Transfer Overview” page. The purchase agreement between the parties stated that, “in the event a breach of this agreement results in a failed attempt to transfer control of the purchase object mobile.co from seller to buyer, the aggrieved party shall have the right to demand specific performance in lieu of monetary damages.”
Once Complainant’s identity was revealed, Ghaith refused to honour the agreement and did not transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant.
When Ghaith was informed of the suit Complainant brought in the District Court of Arizona, Ghaith attempted to renegotiate sale of the domain name for “not below a $150k reserve.”
Prior to these events the domain name had not been used but now Ghaith began offering services that directly competed with Complainant.
Ghaith then transferred the domain name to Respondent, a personal friend.
13. The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a service mark in which Complainant has rights.
14. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
15. Respondent has never been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
16. Respondent acquired the disputed domain name for the purpose of furthering the prior owner’s fraudulent scheme to extort money from Complainant.
17. Respondent is not making a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
18. Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
19. Ghaith and Respondent acquired and registered the disputed domain name for the purposes of engaging in a deliberate and fraudulent scheme to extort substantial sums of money from Complainant by trying to sell the disputed domain name.
1. Complainant’s allegations do not pertain to any conduct by Respondent apart from his purchase of the domain name from the prior registrant.
2. Complainant asserts a breach of contract claim that is inappropriate for resolution under the UDRP process.
3. There are pending legal proceedings that involve the same issue presented in these Administrative Proceeedings.
4. Complainant has failed to satisfy the elements set forth in the UDRP 4(a) because it does not have trademark rights in the descriptive term “Mobile.”
5. Complainant should be held to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking.
C. Complainant’s Additional Submissions:
1. Pending litigation does not require dismissal; rather, the Panel shall have the discretion to decide whether to suspend or terminate the administrative proceeding, or to proceed to a decision.
2. It is a fair and reasonable assumption that Respondent has been inextricably involved from the moment Ghaith transferred the disputed domain name.
3. Complainant has common law rights in the MOBILE.CO, MOBILE.PRO, MOVIL.CO and MOVIL.PRO trademarks.
D. Respondent’s Additional Submissions:
1. There is no possibility that the USPTO will register Complainant’s trademarks since the word “Mobile” (and its Spanish language equivalent, “Movil”) merely describe Complainant’s business and Complainant has not provided any evidence of use proving secondary meaning.
Complainant contends to be the owner of the trademarks MOBILE.CO, MOBILE.PRO, MOVIL.CO and MOVIL.PRO in the United States of America, since their first use in March, 2013. Those trademarks are currently pending registration before the USPTO.
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy does not distinguish between registered and unregistered trademark rights.
Equally, it is the consensus opinion of panelists that a pending application for registration, of itself, gives no such trademark rights. Accordingly, in this case, Complainant must establish unregistered or common law trademark rights if it is to succeed with its Complaint.
In other words, in a common law jurisdiction, if a third party set up in competition with the Complainant under the same or a confusingly similar name, the Complainant could succeed in a passing off action and stop the activity complained of if it were able to establish those three elements.
Therefore, to determine whether or not Complainant owns unregistered trademark rights the Panel must, as a threshold matter, be able to identify a reputation in respect of the name or sign in question. The WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition, available at http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/overview2.0/1.9, asks at paragraph 1.7: “What needs to be shown for the complainant to successfully assert common law or unregistered trademark rights?” In answer, the consensus view of UDRP panelists is that:
The complainant must show that the name has become a distinctive identifier associated with the complainant or its goods or services. Relevant evidence of such ‘secondary meaning’ includes length and amount of sales under the trademark, the nature and extent of advertising, consumer surveys and media recognition. The fact that the secondary meaning may only exist in a small geographical area does not limit the complainant’s rights in a common law trademark. For a number of reasons, including the nature of the Internet, the availability of trademark-like protection under passing-off laws, and considerations of parity, unregistered rights can arise for the purposes of the UDRP even when the complainant is based in a civil law jurisdiction. However, a conclusory allegation of common law or unregistered rights (even if undisputed) would not normally suffice; specific assertions of relevant use of the claimed mark supported by evidence as appropriate would be required … Some panels have noted that the more obvious the viability of a complainant’s claim to common law or unregistered trademark rights, the less onus there tends to be on that complainant to present the panel with extensive supporting evidence. However, unless such status is objectively clear, panels will be unlikely to take bald claims of trademark fame for granted.
In this case Complainant essentially lays claim to rights in the term MOBILE (or its Spanish language equivalent) either with or without the identifiers “.CO” or “.PRO”, it not being entirely clear from the submissions.
In any event nothing turns on that point since UDRP panelists have long held that the addition of a gTLD or ccTLD to a trademark adds nothing of distinguishing value over and above the trademark. Many panelists, for example, will for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) treat TRADEMARK. COM as “legally identical” to TRADEMARK.
Moreover, this Panel is aware that the USPTO has a similar attitude to the registrability of trademarks which reproduce a domain name. In particular, if the USPTO regards a trademark as prima facie descriptive and unregistrable, then the addition to that trademark of, for example, “.co” or “.pro” will do little if anything to improve the stakes.
In this case Complainant’s trademark applications remain pending and the Panel is told that there is resistance to their registration for reason of lack of distinctive character. Panel need not assume the job of the USPTO examiner since from the Complaint itself Panel is told the Complainant launched the website at
The evidence does not advance Complainant’s position. Panel is told that Complainant’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jeffrey Peterson, is highly recognized for work for the Hispanic community in the United States of America and that the business has approximately USD 4 million in funding and more than 100 shareholders. Panel is told in broad terms that the promotion of the business under the name MOBILE or MOBILE.PRO is via the Internet and mainly directed to the Hispanic community.
In spite of the great many people who primarily speak Spanish or who would regard themselves as part of the Hispanic community, this information does very little to assist the Panel to understand the reach and recognition of the trademark as an indicator of Complainant’s services and not as a reference to mobile communications services generally.
Finally, it is noted that this enterprise only gained momentum in March 2013. Even allowing for the speed at which online businesses can now promote themselves to a broad audience, the fact remains that 15 months is a very short timeframe for any directly descriptive term to rise to a level where it is connected in the minds of the public, or even a section of the public, with one business undertaking.
For these reasons, this Panel is not able to conclude that Complainant has common law trademark rights and accordingly Panel finds that Complainant has failed to establish the first limb of the Policy.
Rights or Legitimate Interest
No findings required.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Again, no findings required.
Having failed to establish one of the elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be DENIED.
The credit card company Discover Financial Services, Inc.
filed a UDRP on the domain names DiscoverCards.com and DiscoverCredit.com.
Discover uses two main domain names to access it services and promote its credit cards Discover and its Discover It.
They own the domain name Discover.com, as well as the domain DiscoverCard.com
Discover is paying Google on a Pay Per Click basis to be on top of the term “Discover” and “Discover Card” and the site that is being advertised is DiscoverCard.com
It’s almost incomprehensible that the domain name DiscoverCards.com was registered in 2002 and the UDRP was just filed in July 2014.
That’s 12 years.
According to Screenshots.com the domain has been parked since at least 2004.
The domain has been owned under privacy at Fabulous since at least 2009.
Needless to say the domain must have gotten a ton of traffic over the years on very high paying terms, credit and credit cards.
I would guess someone made a lot of money off of this domain.
The question is how in the world would it take this company 12 years to file a UDRP on a bang on domain name DiscoverCards.com, correctly spelled and the plural of the site they are spending probably a lot of money advertising on Google.
It’s pretty amazing when so many trademark holders have been at ICANN for 5 + years worrying about what happens if someone registers a new gTLD like DiscoverCards.CEO, while allowing bang on domains like this one to exist without challenge for so many years
Discover Financial Services, Inc. is no stranger to UDRP’s, they have filed 20 over the years on over 100 domain names, including many typo’s.
They filed a UDRP last year on the domain names: