Misleading Claims and Lack of Trademark Rights

Started by Domaining News, Mar 09, 2023, 02:09 AM

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A panel from the National Arbitration Forum has concluded that Empower Media Partners, LLC attempted to hijack the domain name EmpowerMedia.com in a reverse domain name hijacking effort.

The panel of three individuals stated that they believe the Complainant provided misleading information regarding the timing of their registered trademark rights. Additionally, the panel found the Complainant's claims regarding their common law trademarks to be lacking.

Moreover, it was discovered that the domain registrant had established a company with the name Empower prior to acquiring the domain name.

The panel ruled in favor of the Respondent regarding Right or Legitimate Interests and Registration and Use in Bad Faith.

In this case, the panel determined that it constituted a Plan B reverse domain name hijacking scenario, where a company initiates a dispute after unsuccessful attempts to purchase the domain name.

Regarding the finding of reverse domain name hijacking, the panel wrote:

Such a finding is not made when a complainant is merely overly optimistic in presenting their claim; it is typically only made in clear cases of harassment or when a Complaint is filed recklessly and without sufficient grounds. The Panel deems this an appropriate case to make such a finding. It is clearly a case that is often referred to as a Plan B case, where the complainant pretends to negotiate for the purchase of the domain name but then resorts to legal proceedings to compel the transfer of the domain name from its holder. Additionally, it is worth noting that such findings should be made in suitable cases to discourage the filing of blatantly unjustified or frivolous proceedings, such as the one at hand. Specifically, the Complainant should have provided accurate information to the Panel regarding the date of its trademark registration, but it failed to do so.

The Complainant was represented by Blank Rome LLP, while Ankur Raheja, Cylaw Solutions, represented the domain name owner.