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Bad Karma: Reverse domain name hijacking in case

An ironic finding in UDRP.

Graphical element of the word Karma

Karma is….a company being found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking for the domain while being represented by a lawyer who is also a UDRP panelist.

Karma International, LLC filed a UDRP against and struck out on all three counts. The panel found that it didn’t show that the domain was confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights, nor that the domain owner lacked a legitimate interest in the domain, nor that he registered it in bad faith.

That’s a rare trifecta.

The case is rather stunning. The Complainant tried to buy the domain name in 2009 and failed. Ten years later it followed up with a UDRP.

The domain owner registered the domain way back in 1994.

In other words, this was a dead-on-arrival case.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, the three-person National Arbitration Forum panel wrote:

…The Panel is in agreement with Respondent’s submissions and finds, on any construction of the facts, that Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove its Complaint. The explicit claims to bad faith registration and use made in the Complaint are largely specious and the accusations levelled at Respondent are groundless and malicious.

This is not the picture of an assiduous infringer slowly engineering the downfall of the rightful trademark owner. Indeed, on one construction of the evidence, it could be said that the Complaint was the design of a party disappointed by its failure, ten years ago, to secure the purchase of the domain name, who has turned the Policy against Respondent, indifferent to the integrity of that party.

Karma International was represented by Kristin Kosinski of Cislo & Thomas LLP. According to her bio, she is a panelist for National Arbitration Forum. I cannot find any cases she has heard as a panelist, and perhaps it’s best that she not decide cases given filing an RDNH case.

The domain name owner was represented by David Weslow of Wiley Rein LLP.

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Author: Andrew Allemann

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