Xiatech Consulting Ltd tries “Plan B” reverse domain name hijacking

Company filed UDRP after inquiring about buying the domain name.

A UK technology company tried to reverse domain name hijack a domain name, a World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has determined (pdf).

Xiatech Consulting Ltd, which uses the domain name xiatech.co.uk, attempted to get the domain name xiatech.com through a UDRP cybersquatting dispute.

The Respondent acquired the domain for $209 in a DropCatch auction in 2015.

In an oddly formatted decision, panelist Matthew Kennedy mashed all three elements of the UDRP together. It’s not clear to me if he found any of the three elements in favor of the Complainant, but it’s clear that Kennedy wasn’t impressed with the evidence Xiatech Consulting provided to show it had common law trademark  rights predating the domain registration. He also found fault in the Complainant filing the case after first trying to acquire the domain, a so-called “Plan B” reverse domain name hijacking.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, he wrote:

The Panel notes that the Complainant has legal representation. The Complaint repeatedly makes assertions that it fails to make any attempt to substantiate. The paucity of evidence as to how the alleged mark has been used, particularly prior to the registration of the disputed domain name, is conspicuous considering that such evidence is essential to a claim of common law rights, on which the Complaint is based. In view of all the circumstances, the Panel infers that the Complainant knew, or should have known, that the Complaint as it was presented, could not succeed under any fair interpretation of the facts that it placed on the record.

Further, the Panel notes that the Complaint was filed a little under two months after the Complainant sought and failed to acquire the disputed domain name from the Respondent. The  Complainant confirms on the record that it was dissatisfied with the Respondent’s offer of a rental and wanted to negotiate a sale. The candor of that disclosure does not alter the purpose for which the Complaint was filed. In the circumstances, the Panel infers that the Complainant resorted to the Policy as “Plan B” after failing to acquire the disputed domain name from the Respondent, 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.

Mishcon de Reya represented the Complainant.

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