The panelist describes the case as “lamentable”.
I’ve seen plenty of egregious cases of reverse domain name hijacking over the years, and a recent one ranks high on the list.
A Swiss textile company, Boller, Winkler AG, filed a UDRP against schlossberg.com. The domain is registered in the name of a man whose last name is schlossberg.com.
With GDPR, a complainant will often file a case and not know that the domain is registered for someone with the matching last name. But in this case, the domain was registered with Network Solutions, which does not hide ownership information for domains held in the United States. Thus, the plaintiff was aware of the identity of the owner of the domain before filing the case.
Worse, when Complainant previously attempted to acquire the domain, he wrote to the domain owner:
Matching a domain to a surname is always a topic of discussion. Therefore, we would like to make a fair offer from the start.
Thus, the complainant was well aware of the domain owner’s legitimate interests in the domain. The Complainant’s argument boiled down to this: “Even if the Respondent’s surname corresponds to the disputed domain name, it has no legitimate interest after all these years of non-use.
And understand this: the plaintiff was represented by Wild Schnyder, a law firm specializing in intellectual property law.
World Intellectual Property Organization panelist John Swinson called the plaintiff’s case “dismal”:
The Committee believes that this is clearly a case of NHDR.
The Complainant attempted to purchase the disputed domain name from the Respondent, without success. At that time, the Complainant knew the weakness of its position because the disputed domain name corresponded to the name of Mr. Schlossberg.
The Complainant, who was represented by an intellectual property law firm, filed a Complaint that did not address the Policy, provided little evidence to support the Complainant’s assertions and did not cited no previous decision under the Policy to support the Complainant’s Position.
The Complainant did not disclose the relevant correspondence, which was helpfully provided by the Respondent. Worse still, the Complainant stated that “the Respondent failed to respond to any of the Owner’s numerous attempts to contact and purchase”. This claim is not supported by evidence and is at least partly false.
Before filing the Complaint, the Complainant was aware or should have been aware of the extreme weakness of its case. If this was not the case, she was informed of the difficulties in her case by a letter from the Respondent’s lawyers dated June 30, 2022 inviting the Complainant to withdraw her Complaint. The Complainant failed to do so, forcing the Respondent to pay to prepare a response.
The Complainant’s conduct in this matter was lamentable. Complainant attempted to use the Bad Faith Policy to deprive a long-time domain name registrant of his domain name.
Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC, represented the domain owner.