Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Started by Domaining News, Apr 05, 2023, 01:51 AM

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A complaint was filed against for cybersquatting, but the company, Dewberry Engineers Inc, failed to include important details in their filing.

This led to a guilty verdict of reverse domain name hijacking (pdf) for Dewberry Engineers Inc. The domain in question is registered to Dewberry Group, owned by John K. Dewberry. The case was doomed from the start due to the omission of key information.

In addition to the failure to disclose the ongoing dispute between Dewberry Engineers and the Respondent, it was also discovered that the Complainant had previously sued the Respondent in 2006 over trademarks. The parties settled the following year, which outlined how the Respondent could use his last name as a mark. In 2020, the Complainant sued the Respondent again and won summary judgment for violating the agreement. However, the Respondent has since appealed the decision.

In her ruling, World Intellectual Property panelist Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa stated that the Complainant provided incomplete evidence by not mentioning the previous litigation and their extensive knowledge of the Respondent. The Complainant falsely claimed ignorance and failed to acknowledge the Respondent's trademarks and their connection to the name "Dewberry."

The record clearly contradicts the Complainant's ignorance, as there was evidence of their knowledge of the Respondent's use of "jkdewberry" prior to the proceedings. The panelist notes that if the Respondent hadn't provided a response, the case would have been considered differently. It is evident that the Complainant was aware of the Respondent's identity and possible rights in the disputed domain name.

Despite attempting to withdraw the case, the Complainant faced objections from the Respondent and ultimately dropped their request. The decision in this case is important considering the panelist's questionable decisions in previous cases, such as the case.

Representing the Complainant was McCandlish Lillard, P.C., while Wellborn, Wallace & Mullman LLC represented the domain name owner.