: Charter Communications guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

RDNH finding for this domain.

Charter Communications filed a UDRP against the domain; the latter, is a domain registered in 2010.

Long before Charter acquired Brighthouse Networks and rebranded to Spectrum and, the Respondent of this UDRP used the domain for web development services:

“Respondent asserts that it has legitimate interests in the disputed domain because Respondent used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of graphic design services to Retirement Communities not only before the current dispute arose but even before any of Complainants’ Spectrum Marks were first used in commerce and before Complainants filed any trademark applications for that mark.”

That being said, at some point, the Respondent sought an amount of “more than $17,500 dollars” in exchange for the domain.

Citing the seniority of the domain as compared to the Complainant’s mark, a three member panel at the WIPO ordered the domain to remain with the Respondent.

At the same time, they found Charter Communications guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking:

“The Panel finds Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. Complainants should have known that Respondent’s original use of the disputed domain name in the manner outlined above was likely to prove fatal to their prospects in this proceeding. Complainants’ reliance on the “update date” as the date of Respondent’s renewal was fundamentally wrong. The Panel might overlook this mistake were it not the primary pillar of Complainants’ bad faith contention, causing the Panel concern that Complainants knew or should have known that they had built their case on an erroneous factual premise.

Furthermore, before launching this case, Complainants engaged in lengthy and detailed negotiations with Respondent to buy the disputed domain name. Frustrated by these negotiations, Complainants strained too hard to find a theory, making erroneous assertions of fact regarding the renewal date their central contention and lobbing baseless allegations (such as the false contact assertion) in an effort to achieve via the UDRP what they could not achieve by negotiation. This stratagem has been described in many UDRP cases as “a highly improper purpose” and it has often contributed to findings of RDNH.”

For the full text of this decision for click here.

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