Domain Investors Need to Take Better Care of Valuable Domain Names
In April of 2008, Jay Westerdal announced that his company had the exclusive sales listing for the generic domain name Harmony.com, and the reserve price was $5,000,000. I don’t recall seeing whether the domain name was sold or not, but I just saw that a UDRP was filed at NAF for Harmony.com on November 12, 2009 (Case #1292225).
Since the NAF doesn’t list the Complainant yet, I can only guess it is the parent company of eHarmony.com who would file a complaint, as they seem the most likely to want the domain name. At first, it would seem like a company is making a grab at this great generic domain name, but if you take a further look at the parked page, it looks less like that. Not only is there a link to learn about purchasing the domain name, there are also dating site links, including one for eHarmony.com. This was just on the main landing page, without even having to do a search to influence the results.
I believe this is similar to a recent case involving Dolphins.com, where the owner had football-related PPC links, and the Miami Dolphins filed a UDRP for Dolphins.com. Although the domain owner does have very limited control over what content is displayed on parked page, owners need to be very careful not to put their valuable domain names at risk.
In a UDRP, a trademark owner needs to prove three things: 1) the complainant has a trademark right that is identical or confusingly similar to the domain name in question, 2) the domain owner has no right or legitimate interest in the domain name, and 3) the domain owner registered and used the domain in bad faith.
Sure, virtually any company can file a UDRP for any domain name they would like (as we’ve seen many times with cases like Pig.com for example), but we shouldn’t make it any easier for them to use the UDRP process to acquire domain names. Harmony.com is a good generic domain name, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
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