Case Number: D2020-1449
Complainant: DSPA, B.V.
Represented by: NLO Shieldmark B.V.
A European manufacturer of aerosol fire suppression systems, based in Nijmegen, Netherlands, has been found guilty of attempted Reverse Domain Name Hijacking by a three-member panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The company, DSPA, B.V., which was represented by the intellectual property firm of NLO Shieldmark B.V., which has a mail drop at The Hague, is located in an unassuming neighborhood of Nijmegen, about a 45-minute drive east of Rotterdam. They filed a UDRP to acquire the domain dspa.com, which they had once owned.
The case was filed on June 5, 2020, against Bill Patterson at Reserved Media LLC, which acquired the domain in 2017 after it had dropped from the zone; in other words, the domain had been owned, but it was expired at the time Reserved Media LLC acquired it in an aftermarket auction. Reserved Media LLC was represented by John Berryhill, Ph.D., who is well established as a defender of domain holders’ property rights.
Berryhill argued the complainant had filed a disingenuous UDRP, predicated on the notion that DSPA, B.V. had somehow neglected to renew its domain for five years, then suddenly realized its error. The WIPO panel agreed, shooting down DSPA, B.V.’s argument that the domain was registered and being used in bad faith, because it resolved to a landing page offering the domain, itself, for sale.
“There is no evidence to suggest that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant, or was likely to be aware of the Complainant, when the Respondent acquired the Disputed Domain Name two years after it was last used and owned by the Complainant,” the panelists wrote, adding, parenthetically, “There is not even an allegation that the Respondent had any hand in the Complainant’s failure to renew the Disputed Domain Name in 2015.”
In writing the defense for Mr. Patterson’s Reserved Media LLC, Mr. Berryhill argued the complaint, as filed, made flagrant omissions of evidence, which one panelist, Warwick A. Rothnie, noted in a rare, concurrent opinion.
“[T]he Complainant omitted to disclose that the Respondent did not register the Disputed Domain Name until two years after the Complainant’s registration had lapsed in fact,” Mr. Rothnie wrote. “That omission is very serious and, if the Respondent had not defended the Complaint strenuously, could have misled the Panel.”
The panel’s final ruling, and their decision to find DSPA, B.V. guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, was handed up August 13, 2020.