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Company files UDRP against deceased man, and I have questions

This UDRP looks really dirty to me.

Blue image with the letters UDRP

Borum A/S, a company in Denmark, has lost a UDRP if filed against the domain name The decision was correct, but I have deep concerns about the Complainant and its representatives at Patrade A/S for filing this case in the first place.

The Whois record clearly states that the domain is registered to Thomas A. Borum, D.V.M. in Natchez, Mississippi. This would show that the registrant has a legitimate interest in the domain and the UDRP should fail.

In its filing, the Complainant stated (as recounted by the panelist):

the Complainant asserts that the registrant’s name in the WhoIs records may in fact be an alias used to match the disputed domain name.

Someone could certainly use a fake surname in Whois. But I spent 30 seconds Googling his name and found this:

Image of search results for Thomas A. Borum, D.V.M.

The first two results are for the domain registrant’s LinkedIn profile. The third (and many other) search results make it clear that Borum died in a plane crash in September last year.

I see only two possibilities here. One is that the Complainant didn’t take a minute to search the Respondent’s name before asserting it might be false. The other is that it Googled his name, realized he was dead, and decided it was an opportune time to file a UDRP.

Both of these possibilities are bad. Either it failed to undertake basic research before making its allegation, or it filed a case knowing the person was dead and didn’t mention it.

The Complainant even calls out the domain owner for not checking for trademarks before acquiring the domain. The panelist summarized:

At the very least, says the Complainant, the Respondent willfully failed to search for conflicting trade marks, prior to acquiring the disputed domain name.

So the Complainant suggests that the domain registrant needed to search trademark databases before registering the domain but it (maybe) didn’t bother to Google the domain owner’s name before filing the case?

Making matters worse, panelist Alistair Payne noted that even if Borum had searched the trademark database, all of the registrations post-date the registration of the domain.

Payne ruled in favor of the deceased domain registrant. But I have a dirty feeling about this case.


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Author: Andrew Allemann

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