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Novelist.com Complainant gets Reverse Domain Name Hijacking stain

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RDNH finding for Novelist.com

The UDRP against the generic domain Novelist.com ends up “staining” the Complainant with a Reverse Domain Name Hijacking mark.

EBSCO Industries, Inc. registered its trademark for NOVELIST in 2007, and by 2009 it had reached out to the Respondent in order to buy the domain.

According to the UDRP document:

Respondent asserts that in 2009 it was contacted by Mr Roger Rohweder of Complainant; although at the time of contact Mr Rohweder did not identify himself as such.  Respondent further asserts that Mr Rohweder contacted Respondent several times over a period of years from 2009, looking to purchase the Domain Name, but made no claim of trade or service mark rights at any stage.  Respondent states he was again contacted by Mr Rohweder in 2016, who offered $25,000 or more for the Domain Name.

John Berryhill was the Respondent’s attorney in this UDRP, and he stated:

Respondent states it registered the Domain Name in 1997. It further states that the Domain Name consists of a common dictionary word and has been used by for nearly two decades, for lists of novelty auctions.

Respondent observes that Complainant has presented no evidence of trade or service mark rights, or evidence of what Complainant’s goods or services consist of and submits that its claim rests solely on its registration of Complainant’s Mark.

Regarding use in bad faith of the domain, the National Arbitration Forum panelists found none:

Respondent similarly contends that it could not have had any knowledge of Complainant’s Mark because it simply didn’t exist at the relevant time. In the Panel’s view the fact that the Domain Name is identical is irrelevant – the fact is that the Domain Name was registered 20 years ago and 10 years before Complainant’s Mark came into existence. That, in and of itself, is sufficient to deny any possible suggestion of bad faith on Respondent’s part.

The three member panel ordered the domain Novelist.com to remain with the Respondent; meanwhile, the Complainant was found guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking:

Respondent alleges that Complainant has acted in bad faith and is engaging in reverse domain name hijacking by initiating this dispute.  Respondent contends that Complainant is attempting to deprive Respondent, the rightful, registered holder of the Domain Name, of its rights. Respondent cites Complainant’s multiple previous offers to purchase the Domain Name and argues that Complainant is using the proceeding as a “Plan B” to obtain the Domain Name.

For the full text of this UDRP decision, click here.


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