Nominet panel issues first reverse hijacking decision

United Kingdom

For the first time, a Nominet panel has upheld a counterclaim of reverse domain name hijacking. The panellist, Steven Maier, found that the complainant in Cardpoint plc v Riga Industries was attempting to abuse the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) Policy to obtain a transfer of the domain name 'cardpoint.co.uk'.

Riga Industries registered the domain name in November 1999. Cardpoint plc was incorporated in October 2000 as Hallco 528 PLC, changed its name in November 2000 and began trading as 'Cardpoint' in 2001.

Maier found that although Cardpoint had a reputation and goodwill at the date the complaint was made (albeit minimal), it did not have any rights at the date of the registration of the domain name. Therefore Riga's registration of 'cardpoint.co.uk' could not have been abusive as required by the DRS Policy. Maier also found that while the DRS Policy requires that the domain name was used "in a manner which took unfair advantage of or was unfairly detrimental to the complainant's rights", Riga had not used the domain name. Maier concluded that Cardpoint was attempting to abuse Nominet's procedures and, therefore, was guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

Under Nominet's DRS Policy, a complainant found to have brought a complaint in bad faith on more than three separate occasions within a two-year period is prevented from making further cybersquatting claims under the policy for two years.

Kirstin Hadley, Ashurst Morris Crisp, London

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