Case Number: D2017-2008
Complainant: Modz of Arnas, France
Represented by: Marion le Marchand Avocat
The French online retailer, Modz, has been found guilty of attempted Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, after attempting gain control of the domain modz.com. While the domain name matches a trademark owned by the Arnas, France-based retail company, the respondent, represented by John Berryhill, made note of the fact the term “modz” is a variation of “mods”, which is short for modified, making it a generic term.
The WIPO board agreed, noting the domain owner, He Ming Huang, had once used the domain to sell video game accessories online, and the domain continues to host pay-per-click links related to the video game industry. “The Respondent has consistently used the Disputed Domain Name in connection with its generic meaning, being a colloquialism used in the gaming and computer industry for an aftermarket modification,” the panel wrote. “The Panel is satisfied that both uses of the Disputed Domain Name by the Respondent are legitimate,” the panel added.
In issuing their ruling, the panel chided the claimant for failing to disclose it had attempted to purchase the domain from Mr. Huang. “[T]he Complainant omitted or misrepresented key communications between the Complainant and the Respondent,” the panel wrote. “The Panel considers the Complainant’s filing of the Complaint was ‘Plan B’ following several failed attempts to purchase the Disputed Domain Name at what it considered to be a reasonable price.”
The WIPO ruling was handed up December 21, 2017.