Defunct company did not hold domain name in bad faith
The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre's domain name dispute panel has issued a novel ruling in PCCW-HKT Ltd v Post Production Shop Ltd, where the respondent no longer existed as a result of insolvency.
PCCW, a major Hong Kong telecommunications service provider, together with its business partners have been providing 24-hour bill payment services under the PAYMENT BY PHONE and PPS marks for over 10 years in Hong Kong. PCCW lodged a complaint with the arbitration centre requesting the transfer of the domain name 'pps.com.hk'. Post Production Shop, which had registered the name, did not file any response to the complaint as it had been wound up.
In the absence of a response, the panel was unable to find that Post Production Shop had any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. It went on to consider whether the domain name was registered and used in bad faith, which would necessitate an order for its transfer.
The domain name in dispute had not been put to any actual use. World Intellectual Property Organization precedents (Telstra and Guerlain) show that passive holding of domain names in certain circumstances will amount to the domain name being used in bad faith. However, in the unique circumstances of this case, the panel was unable to attribute any bad-faith intention to a non-existent entity.
Thus, instead of ordering a transfer, the panel cancelled the domain name because the registrant has ceased to have the capacity to have any legitimate interest in it.
Chloe Lee, Wilkinson & Grist, Hong Kong
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