Panelists should find RDNH even when a complainant is just very misguided.

Reverse domain name hijacking graphic

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has given a free pass to a Complainant who seemed to not understand the requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Sébastien Paches filed a UDRP to get the domain name for a business he is launching. A domain investor registered the domain before he had his business idea.

Paches tried to buy the domain but didn’t like the owner’s price, so he filed a UDRP.

This is a classic case of reverse domain name hijacking. But panelist Nick Gardner let him off the hook.

Paches was represented by counsel. His case was so dead-on-arrival that Gardner gave him a pass:

On balance the Panel does not consider the Complainant’s conduct warrants a finding of RDNH. It considers this is a case which should never have been brought and where the Complainant had no prospects whatsoever of succeeding. As such it is potentially within (i) above. There is also some evidence suggesting this is a situation whereby the Complainant has failed to buy the Disputed Domain Name at a price he was prepared to pay, and then adopted an alternative strategy of an unmeritorious Complaint. It is also the case (as the Respondent points out) that the Complainant was less than frank when seeking to buy the Disputed Domain Name claiming he wanted it for personal use as it corresponded to his family name and not mentioning his proposed business or asserting any legal claim. However the Complainant is not represented and it seems to the Panel that on balance he has simply failed to properly understand the Policy rather than acted deliberately in bad faith. Accordingly the Panel has concluded the Complainant’s conduct does not fall within the above guidelines and does not deserve the censure of a finding of RDNH.

While panelists sometimes go easy on Complainants who aren’t represented by counsel, it’s worth pointing out that the domain owner was represented by counsel. He likely paid several thousand dollars to defend the domain name. And while a finding of RDNH in a UDRP doesn’t come with a financial penalty, the domain owner is owed this respect.

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