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RigMinder.com #UDRP : Former employee holds the #GoDaddy keys

When you trust employees with your company assets, such as domain names, ensure these are role accounts and not personal accounts.

RigMinder Operating LLC filed a UDRP to recover its domain name, RigMinder.com, that was registered in 2007. At some point, the manager of the domain’s web site with Amazon AWS left the company, but somehow retained control of the GoDaddy account.

To complicate things further, RigMinder Operating LLC was acquired by Ensign and accessing the domain became a necessity, apparently.

The UDRP, however, failed to deliver the expected results, as it was not detailed enough about the Respondent’s role with the company.

The Respondent simply stated:

“Please take me off your list. I no longer work for Ensign.”

Due to lack of clarity the sole panelist at the WIPO denied the transfer of RigMinder.com to the Complainant. It’s clear that taking the UDRP route is not the best solution in cases where there’s a legal dispute.

The domain transfer was denied.

RigMinder Operating, LLC v. Evan Gooch, YachtMinder Systems
Case No. D2020-2849

1. The Parties

Complainant is RigMinder Operating, LLC, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Porter Hedges, LLP, United States.

Respondent is Evan Gooch, YachtMinder Systems, United States.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <rigminder.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 28, 2020. On October 28, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 29, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.

The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 5, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 25, 2020. On November 10, 2020, Respondent requested for the copies of the related documents, however, Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified to the Parties that it was proceeding to panel appointment on December 16, 2020.

The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on December 29, 2020. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

4. Factual Background

Since 2008, Complainant has used the trademark RIGMINDER to provide “monitoring instruments, devices, and equipment for use in subterranean vertical and horizontal directional drilling operations”, such as hydraulic pressure sensors and depth tracking equipment. Complainant holds a trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the mark RIGMINDER, USPTO Reg. No. 3,973,215, registered on June 7, 2011 and reflecting a first use in commerce of January 1, 2008.

According to the Complaint, Ensign Energy Services Inc. (“Ensign”) acquired majority control of Trinidad Drilling Ltd. (“Trinidad”) in November 2018, and 100% ownership of Trinidad in February 2019. According to the Complaint, RigMinder Operating, LLC (“RigMinder” or “Complainant”) is “an indirect wholly owned subsidiary” of Trinidad. (Of course, based upon the transactions described earlier in this paragraph, Complainant is also an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Ensign.)

The Domain Name was registered on December 20, 2007. The Domain Name apparently resolves to the website at “www.ensignenergy.com”, i.e., the website owned by Complainant’s ultimate owner.

Complainant asserts that it “needs to be able to control its domain name” (referring to the Domain Name at issue in this case). “However”, Complainant adds, “the RigMinder employees who have or had access to the domain name have not responded to any calls or other communications for the required passwords”. The record lacks any evidence of these alleged communications.

Complainant elaborates as follows:

“Complainant is missing two passwords, the one for GoDaddy and the one for Amazon web services. The GoDaddy password is the one Complainant needs for domain control. The domain name is identical to the RigMinder trademarks, in which Respondent possesses no right, and Respondent has the ability to create and alter content on the website residing at the domain name without authority or permission from Complainant, despite the domain name being owner by Complainant.”

There are no allegations or evidence in the Complaint to describe the circumstances surrounding the registration of the Domain Name in December 2007. Further, there is no discussion of the actual named Respondents in this case – Yachtminder Systems, Inc. (“Yachtminder”) and Evan Gooch (“Gooch”) – in the Complaint, other than a statement that Yachtminder is a Texas corporation apparently controlled by an individual (hereinafter referred to as “Gregory W”). On December 29, 2020, Gregory W sent an email to the Center, stating in full: “Please take me off your list. I no longer work for Ensign.”

The Complaint contains no discussion whether there is some link between Gregory W and Ensign, or between Yachtminder and Ensign.

Complainant further states:

“The domain name is registered by Respondent in bad faith. Neither Respondent nor anyone affiliated with Respondent owns the domain name. The domain name is owned by Complainant. Respondent’s failure to provide the passwords to complete this transfer and Respondent’s continuing ability to have access to the domain name and its content is being done in bad faith.”

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that it has satisfied each of the elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the trademark RIGMINDER through registration and use demonstrated in the record. The Panel also concludes that the Domain Name is identical to that mark.

Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:

(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you [Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

In view of the Panel’s discussion in the “Bad Faith” section below, the Panel need not address this element of the Policy.

C. Registered or Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation”, are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:

(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or

(ii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.

The Panel cannot find bad faith registration and use on this record. As noted above, Complainant repeatedly states that it owns the Domain Name, and that its own employees are refusing to release some passwords surrounding the Domain Name to Complainant. The Complaint does not provide details about the employees (plural) and their alleged refusal to release passwords to Complainant. Further, the Complaint does not set forth the circumstances surrounding the registration of the Domain Name, and so the Panel cannot determine whether the Domain Name was registered in bad faith.

In sum, as pleaded and presented, this Complaint fails to provide the basis upon which the Panel can conclude, under the elements of the UDRP, that the Domain Name should be ordered transferred to Complainant.

Complainant has not established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied.

Robert A. Badgley
Sole Panelist
Date: January 12, 2021


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