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German Company’s UDRP Chokes On RDNH

Case Number: D2020-1119

Complainant: AIRY GreenTech GmbH

Represented by: Office Freylinger S.A.

A Hamburg-based manufacturer of plant pots has been found guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking in a transcontinental trademark battle between it and an Indonesian hotel and travel company. AIRY GreenTech GmbH filed its UDRP on May 5, 2020 to obtain control of the domain, airy.com, which is currently owned by Airy Nest, although the domain registration had been privacy protected, a point the complainant tried to use against the domain owner. The case was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization.

AIRY GreenTech, which was represented by the firm of Office Freylinger S.A., of Luxembourg, had argued its trademarks for the term “airy” date to 1998 in several classes, and its more recent trademarks, registered in late 2015, give it legitimate rights and interests in the domain, and that the current registrant of the domain had no legitimate use for the digital property. AIRY GreenTech further argued the fact the domain had once resolved to a “for sale” page at Uniregistry was clear evidence the respondent was trying to target the value of AIRY GreenTech’s marks.

However, the respondent company, Airy Nest, which is a subsidiary of a larger concern, Nest Tech Pte. Ltd., based in Singapore, which uses the website airyrooms.com as part of its online booking platform. The domain, itself, was originally registered in 2003. Airy Nest acquired it in 2017 for $150,000, the same time it also secured trademarks with the word “airy” in them.

The sole panelist in the case, Andrew D. S. Lothian, wrote that AIRY GreenTech’s failures to do even the most basic research into a generic name was a colossal failure of due diligence. “The Complainant’s failure to undertake what would have been reasonably modest research into the Respondent’s identity and business activities demonstrates at best carelessness and, at worst, a willful disregard for the obligations placed upon it by the Policy,” Lothian wrote.

“Fundamentally, the Complainant’s failure to consider the dictionary word nature of the disputed domain name, the history of the disputed domain name and the background to its acquisition of rights in the AIRY trademark caused it to overlook multiple weaknesses in its case,” he said.

The RDNH ruling was handed up on July 3, 2020.

Added October 5, 2020
Source: https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2020-1119

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