These two things stand out about a recent cybersquatting dispute.
Forever I Am, Inc. has lost a cybersquatting dispute it brought against HugeDomains over the domain ForeverIAm.com. There are a couple of noteworthy things about this case.
First, the Complainant used to own the domain name but let it expire by accident. That’s when HugeDomains acquired the domain. The Complainant made a spurious claim about the goal of drop catching:
Respondent is in the business of “drop-catching,” buying recently expired domain names, usually from a pre-release domain auction, to sell the domain name to its previous owner for a price in great excess of registration costs. [emphasis added]
I’ve heard this argument before. People think the main goal of acquiring expired domains is to sell them back to the previous owner who let them expire. In reality, it’s extremely rare that the previous owner of a domain buys it back after letting it expire. I can’t even remember the last time I sold an expired domain to someone who previously owned it.
ICANN has rules in place that make it unlikely that someone would not renew an active website on accident. The registrar must change the nameservers upon expiration, causing the site to go down. Any operator of an active website should quickly realize it has expired and be able to renew it during the grace period.
The other noteworthy thing about this case is that the Complainant decided to get greedy. It could have had the domain for free, but then it asked for more.
According to the published decision, HugeDomains offered to transfer the domain to the Complainant at no cost if it withdrew the Complaint. I can see why HugeDomains would make this pragmatic decision even if it believed it had done nothing wrong. But the Complainant then requested HugeDomains pay its costs and legal fees as well, at which point HugeDomains filed its response.
So Forever I Am could have had the domain for whatever legal costs it incurred hiring its lawyers to file the initial case. (This was likely less than the $5,000 the Complainant offered to pay for the domain previously. HugeDomains said it was not aware of that offer. The domain was listed for sale for $11,595.)
Instead, the Complainant asked HugeDomains to hand over the domain plus pay cash. That was a mistake. The net-net is the Complainant had to pay its legal fees and still doesn’t have the domain.
Spiegel & Utrera, P.C. represented Forever I Am, Inc.
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Author: Andrew Allemann