Reverse Domain Name Hijacking Ruling in MEZ.com UDRP
In September of last year, a UDRP was filed against the Mez.com domain name. This afternoon, I learned via an update on UDRPSearch.com that the UDRP was denied. I later learned that the panel also ruled that this was a case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH).
The registrant of the domain name was represented by attorney Jason Schaeffer of the ESQWire law firm in New Jersey. In my opinion, ESQWire is one of the top law firms representing domain name owners in UDRP and other domain name defense cases.
Although I asked for and received a copy of the UDRP provided by attorney Schaeffer, the decision has not yet been published on the WIPO website. I uploaded a pdf of the decision here.
The UDRP was initiated by a Swiss company called George Mez AG shortly after the complainant submitted an offer of $600 to buy the domain name. The company also apparently mentioned its MEZ trademarks in the purchase discussion. From my perspective, three letter .com domain names have been worth beyond three figures for over a decade, and LLL .com domain names have been selling regularly for 5 figures. Even the lowest value LLL .com domain names sell for 5 figures these days, and I wouldn’t consider MEZ.com to be on the lower end of this type of domain name. I can’t imagine an offer like this would entice a domain owner to sell.
The decision and the facts surrounding the decision are a bit complicated, so you will want to read the entire decision to see the facts of the case and how the three member panel came to its conclusion.
One thing you will note is that the respondent asked for a finding of RDNH, which is not always the case with UDRP responses. In outlining its case, the respondent seems to have done a good job at explaining why it felt the UDRP should be considered a case of attempted hijacking. I am somewhat surprised the panel found there was RDNH given the circumstances, but the panel listed four reasons for why it qualified. Among them, was that the panel felt the UDRP filing was “plan B.” Here’s how the panel described this:
“In the Panel’s view, this is a classic “Plan B” case where a party, having been frustrated in its negotiations to buy a domain name, resorts to the ultimate option of a highly contrived and artificial claim not supported by any facts or the plain wording of the UDRP. This stratagem has been described in many UDRP cases as “a highly improper purpose” and it has contributed to findings of RDNH.”
Congratulations to Jason Schaeffer and ESQWire on the decision and the RDNH finding.
Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Google + | Facebook | Email