A UDRP panelist has, with “considerable hesitation”, determined (pdf) that this was not reverse domain name hijacking because the registrar had added pay-per-click advertisements to the domain landing page.
Samet Kalıp Ve Madeni Eşya Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.Ş, which produces furniture accessories such as hinge systems, filed a lawsuit on samet.com against Samet & Company, Inc.
The case was essentially dead on arrival. Global IP panelist Warwick Rothnie listed many reasons why he would have considered this reverse domain name hijacking:
First, as noted above, Complainant has made allegations about Respondent and the domain name sametcpa.com. It is not a domain name held by the Respondent. It is not a domain name in the list of at least 89 domain names that Complainant claims are held by Respondent as evidence that it is a domainer. The Complainant has not explained why it considers this to be one of the Respondent’s domain names. Moreover, as the Respondent points out, it appears to relate to an accounting firm to which the Complainant can have no valid reason to object. The Complainant has not attempted to explain why he considers that his rights to “Samet” in the context of a furniture accessories business confer him rights to the use of “Samet” in the context of accounting.
Second, the WhoIs record on which the Complainant relies prima facie indicates that the Registrant is “Samet & Company, Inc.” The WhoIs record also indicates that the administrative and technical contact is “Michael Samet”. It was therefore obvious that the example of paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy was potentially applicable. Other than the unanswered emails and the resolution of the disputed domain name to an obvious parking page, there is no evidence that the Complainant took steps to verify whether any of them were genuine. people or what, if anything, that research has revealed.
Third, the WhoIs record also indicates that the disputed domain name was created in 1996. It does not follow that the current holder has held the disputed domain name since then. However, there is nothing in the record to indicate that the Complainant suspects that the Respondent was not the original licensee. Plaintiff does not rely on Wayback Machine records to show that there was a change in ownership. Similarly, despite Complainant’s use of Reverse WhoIs tools to identify other domain names held by Respondent and/or Dr. Samet, there is no research suggesting changes in the name holder of domain.
The procedures under the Policy are intended to be a cost-effective and expeditious means of resolving domain name disputes in the event of cybersquatting. However, allegations that someone has registered and used a domain name in bad faith should not be made without proper investigation.
The Complainant also attempted to contact the Respondent to find out if the disputed domain name was for sale. The Complainant submits that the fact that the Respondent did not answer any of these questions is an indicator of the Respondent’s bad faith. However, where a respondent has legitimate rights or interests in a domain name, there can be no obligation to respond to unsolicited email.
But Warwick decided that because the domain resolves to a parking page with “related searches,” he wouldn’t find it reverse domain name hijacking while dismissing the complaint.
The domain is hosted at BlueHost, which likely provides the email services the respondent uses. Because there is no content on the site, BlueHost added a parking page with advertising links.
This case was dead on arrival. It was clear that the plaintiff could not prove that the owner of the domain had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain given the name of his company. However, if a parking page displayed ads related to the complainant’s business, maybe this would negate a finding of reverse domain name hijacking.
Yet the WIPO decision does not suggest that the links on the website have anything to do with the complainant’s company. Warwick’s decision states:
After a period where it doesn’t seem to have resolved to a website at all, it now resolves to a parking page provided by the hosting service which shows a number of “related searches” such as “Sliding Patio Doors”, “Sliding Doors Patio Door Prices”, “Entry Door Design Ideas”, etc.
It would be a leap forward to suggest that these links had anything to do with the complainant. The only link I see to doors on the complainant’s website is furniture door hardware.
Considering all the red flags making this matter dead on arrival, and that the parking page is clearly the one created by the host, I think Warwick should have gone ahead with a name hijacking finding of inverted domain.