Company went after domain registered before it existed.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
The company, which launches satellites, filed a cybersquatting complaint against rocketlab.com, which is owned by RocketLab Inc. RocketLab Inc. registered the domain name well before Rocket Lab USA existed, making this case dead on arrival. It would be impossible to prove that the domain was registered to target the Complainant.
The three-person UDRP panel determined this was a case of reverse domain name hijacking for four reasons:
i) Complainant, who is represented by a lawyer, should have appreciated the weakness of its case in view of the fact that the rocketlab.com domain name was registered long before Complainant acquired trademark rights in the ROCKET LAB mark and many years before Complainant was founded;
ii) the Complainant’s case appears to be based on the argument that Respondent’s failure to use the rocketlab.com domain name in connection with an active website amounts to bad faith. The Panel finds that Complainant should have contemplated that it could not succeed with such an argument since there is no evidence that Respondent ever targeted Complainant;
iii) Complainant should have known that Respondent’s use of the domain name for its email correspondence qualifies as using the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; and
iv) the circumstances of the case clearly show that the Complaint was filed as a “Plan B” after Complainant’s failure to purchase the disputed domain name from the Respondent.
McAndrews Held & Malloy Ltd. represented the Complainant.
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