Bybit.com tries to reverse domain name hijack bybt.com

Cryptocurrency exchange filed cybersquatting case in bad faith.

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found that Bybit Fintech Limited tried to reverse domain name hijack bybt.com.

Bybit uses Bybit.com for its cryptocurrency exchange. Bybt.com is a site and app for cryptocurrency futures and information. (It has rebranded to coinglass.com.)

Among Bybit’s arguments was that “The Respondent intentionally included promotional banners for Bybit and redirects Internet users to the Complainant’s official website.”

Well, it turns out that a Bybit employee reached out to Bybt and asked it to show the banner. Bybit also inquired about acquiring the company. It disclosed neither of these to the panelist.

Panelist Matthew Kennedy found this was reverse domain name hijacking, in part because of false statements regarding the banner:

In fact, the record shows that the Complainant approached the Respondent and requested that he display banner advertising on his website. The Complainant not only authorized and consented for the Respondent to redirect to the Complainant’s official website, but it provided its logo and a hyperlink to enable the Respondent to do so.

Further, the Panel notes that the Complainant filed the Complaint one month after proposing to invest in the Respondent’s business and days before the Respondent gave its final answer declining the offer. The record indicates that the Complainant resorted to the Policy as “Plan B” in case it failed to gain control over the disputed domain name in the marketplace or to increase its bargaining leverage. Either is a highly improper purpose for a complaint under the Policy and constitutes a further basis to find Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

There is one part of the UDRP that is a bit disconcerting. The Complainant provided evidence showing the domain name was listed for sale on a registrar’s website for HKD 19,470.40 (about $2,500) as recently as September 24, 2021. The Respondent says it had nothing to do with this sales offer:

The Respondent has never sold the disputed domain name; it was offered for sale on another website without any involvement of the Respondent. In any case, the asking price of HKD 19,470 was far below the value of a domain name with millions of users.

Kennedy wrote:

The Panel rejects as improbable the Respondent’s submission that he had no involvement in authorizing that offering for sale.

I wouldn’t call it improbable. I’d call it very possible. Domain marketplaces are littered with stale listings. In this case, a search for bybt.com at GoDaddy pulls up a listing with a “minimum offer”, not an asking price, of $2,500. This could very well be an old listing from before bybt.com acquired the domain in the first place. It’s possible that the Respondent listed it for sale, but it’s entirely possible it didn’t. So I think Kennedy is wrong to call it improbable.

Norton Rose Fulbright represented the Complainant. No representative is listed for the Respondent.

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