A UDRP over the domain Lunchmail.com involved eNom’s Privacy WHOIS service, indicating that the Registrant and Respondent is the Registrar.
Sven Mark Sawatzki is the Complainant in this case; he’s the registered owner of the EU trademark “Lunchmail” No. 8274193 (word mark; registration date: 12 January 2010; application date: 30 April 2009; classes 35, 38, 42).
The Complainant provides online services to restaurants since 2008 under the name “Lunchmail”. These services include the provision of email newsletters about lunch menus to guests of restaurants. The Complainant provides such services internationally via several domain names, including lunchmail.net, lunchmail.de, lunchmail.fr, lunchmail.at and others.
According to the UDRP, the original expiration date of the Domain Name for 2016 was September 27, 2016.
The previous registrant, Compendium, did not renew its registration of Lunchmail.com, despite holding onto that domain since 2000.
Shortly after the domain’s expiration, it was registered by the Respondent, a company using or providing privacy services for domain name registrations. The Respondent indeed confirms that it owns the Domain Name since November 1, 2016.
Upon the domain’s expiration, it featured a link to backorder it on NameJet, where it was offered for sale through a public auction.
The Complainant reached out via the WHOIS to the obfuscated email address, seeking the handing over of the domain; the same day, he received an email by someone named Jim York of Gio Media, offering to sell them the domain for $2,500 dollars.
In further correspondence, the Complainant refused to pay this amount and asked to know the current legal owner of the domain. It furthermore seems that Mr Jim York refused to provide such information and informed the Complainant that Lunchmail.com had been sold to an anonymous purchaser.
In his UDRP complaint, the Complainant stated the following regarding the Respondent, in this case eNom, providers of Proxy WHOIS services:
• Use of privacy or proxy registration services;
• Deliberate provision of false/misleading Whois data;
• Constructive knowledge/prior knowledge of potential rights;
• Blocking registration;
• Automated registration;
• Speculation in domain names;
• Holding domain name for purposes of selling, licensing or renting (offer to Complainant; offer to public);
• Selling, licensing or renting was the primary purpose;
• Non-use of the Domain Name;
In its response, eNom’s Privacy WHOIS provider stated the following:
As concerns the purported use of a privacy or prosy registration service: The Respondent claims that the Respondent is not using a privacy or proxy service: while the Respondent happens to operate a proxy service, the Respondent is the registrant of the Domain Name.
As concerns the purported bad faith at registration and use of the domain name:
The Respondent has no affiliation with, or knowledge of, one “Jim York” or one “Gio Media”. This concerns an unaffiliated third party who had no right to offer the Domain Name for sale to the Complainant. The Respondent has never had any correspondence with the Complainant.
The Respondent is not using a privacy service. While Respondent happens to operate a proxy service, Respondent is the registrant of the Domain Name. Thus, Complainant’s argument is not applicable and cannot lead to any finding of bad faith. Furthermore, the use of a privacy or proxy registration service is not in itself an indication of bad faith.
So what can we gather from this exchange?
Most likely that upon expiration, Lunchmail.com was retained by eNom and became part of its owned domain portfolio. In the process, the WHOIS was changed to the Privacy WHOIS information the company provides as a service.
Also, that the “Jim York” fella of “Gio Media” is most likely a random speculator, front-running Lunchmail.com to owners of similar domains – in this case, Lunchmail.net – in order to facilitate a pre-sale via NameJet.
What a mess!
For the record, eNom sought a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, stating that “lunch mail” is a pair of generic terms. The sole panelist, Bart Van Besien, rejected that request, but also rejected the Complainant’s request to transfer the domain.
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