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A Belgian company called IBA SA filed a UDRP against the valuable IBA.com domain name at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Not surprisingly, the sole panelist, Nick J. Gardner, ruled in favor of the domain registrant. The panelist also ruled this was Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH). The decision was published today.
The complainant attempted to acquire the domain name for $2,500 in 2021 using a domain broker. According to the panelist’s interpretation of the discussion between the broker and the complainant, the broker told the complainant it” should offer over USD 25,000 if it wishes to make a credible offer.”
Anyone who does even cursory research about domain name values should know every single 3 letter .com domain name is worth more than $2,500 right now. In fact, there have only been five publicly reported 3 letter .com domain name sales for less than $10,000 in the last 5 years (out of 252 public sales on Namebio). None have sold for as little as $2,500! 3 letter .com domain names regularly sell for substantially more than that offer.
There were quite a few reasons for why this complaint failed. The panelist found that the complainant’s trademark was not really distinctive, and it is also a short and desirable domain name. In addition, the panelist didn’t find that the complainant has a “better right” to the domain name than the respondent. I thought this excerpt was worth highlighting:
“The Complainant’s suggestion that it has a better right to the Disputed Domain Name than the Respondent because the Respondent is not using it is simply wrong. Even if the Respondent is not using the Disputed Domain Name (and the evidence on this is unclear) there is no obligation on a domain name holder to make use of a domain name. Whilst “passive holding” of a domain name can in some circumstances support a finding of bad faith this requires there to be other factors indicating bad faith also present – see WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 3.3. That is not the case here.”
Ultimately, I believe there is a very high bar for a complainant to win a UDRP for a valuable 3 letter .com domain name. I appreciate that a panelist like Mr. Gardner understands this.
So how much money was spent on the company and on the the owner?
Did the company pay a fine or go to jail for trying to steal??
It does not appear that the domain registrant was represented by outside counsel.
There are no penalties for the complainant.
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