RDNH Case

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Environmental Certification Company Certified As Reverse Domain Hijacker

Case Number: D2020-1822

Complainant: Green Globe Ltd.

Represented by: SoCal IP Law Group LLP

A United Kingdom-based firm that licenses an environmental sustainability certification framework has been found guilty of attempted Reverse Domain Name Hijacking after trying to gain control of the domain greenglobe.com from one of its licensee’s subsidiary companies. That sub, Green Globe, LLC, is held by Green Certifications Inc., which responded to the UDRP complaint, which was filed by Green Globe Ltd., of the UK. The complaint was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization on July 12, 2020. The company was represented by the firm of SoCal IP Law Group LLP.

The UK company argued that Green Globe, LLC did not have any license to utilize the domain, and filed a supplement, which was accepted by the UDRP panel, that explained it did not know the relationship between Green Globe, LLC and Green Certifications Inc.. The UK Green Globe Ltd. does have a license with Green Globe Inc., but argued that failing proof of a relationship, that the domain was being used in bad faith, and had been acquired in bad faith.

The domain, itself, has been registered since 1997, but it was purchased in 2010 from a Dutch company, also called Green Globe. The sole panelist in the case, Adam Taylor, wrote that it was, indeed, unclear the precise organizational relationship between the legitimate licensee and the presumed subsidiary, but noted it was obvious, based on the response, such a relationship did, in fact, exist.

“[P]anels will generally look behind the official registrant to the rights and legitimate interests claimed on the part of the ultimate owner, notwithstanding that the owner’s name does not appear in the registrant field of the disputed domain name,” Mr. Taylor wrote.

The respondent, Green Globe Inc., replying for Green Globe, LLC, informed the panel it was the target of an online and extortion campaign by the complainant, in an attempt, presumably to gain control of the domain. The respondent pointed out it was currently suing the complainant in Los Angeles County Superior Court for attempted to impede the licensee’s rights and hijack the domain name.

In a complex filtering process, Mr. Taylor reasoned that the complainant had attempted to hide the fact the domain owner, or at the very least the name of the registrant of the domain, was directly connected to the legitimate licensee, who did have legitimate rights an interests in the domain.

“[T]he Complainant should have disclosed the Licence and addressed the issue in its Complaint. Not only did it fail to do so, in the initial version of its Complaint, the Complainant even denied the existence of a licence with GCI,” Mr. Taylor wrote.

The RDNH ruling was handed up September 24, 2020.

Case added October 12, 2020.
Source: https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2020-1822

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