Posts and Articles
Stevan Lieberman has written a comprehensive discussion of RDNH, both in ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (Policy) and in the U.S. Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act (ACPA).
Rick Schwartz’s Hall of Shame publicly shames those companies that have been found guilty of RDNH.
Panelist The Honorable Neil Brown QC gives his views on RDNH, including that panelists have a positive duty to consider whether a RDNH finding is warranted whether or not the Respondent requests it.
Bill Hartzer provides an easy to understand example of RDNH.
Selected ccTLD RDNH Decisions
Country code extensions (ccTLDs) are not overseen by ICANN and the rules for each ccTLD can be unique to that country’s registry. Therefore decisions under ccTLD rules may not be generally applicable. For this reason RDNH decisions under ccTLDs are not included in the main report. As a service for those who are interested, here are a selection of some RDNH decisions under ccTLDs that we have learned of.
threebestrated.com.au (WIPO Decision) May 11, 2020
datacom.net.au (WIPO Decision) March 4, 2020
smartmark.com.au (WIPO Decision) February 19, 2020
carmans.com.au (WIPO Decision) February 2, 2016
etg.com.au (WIPO Decision) April 17, 2015
wow.com.au (WIPO Decision) July 24, 2007
Illuminating Panel Findings
Panelist Dr. Martin Mueller sees the RDNH as appropriate when trademark holders file a UDRP complaint without sufficient evidence of bad faith on the part of the domain registrant:
The ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) makes challenges to domain name assignments relatively easy and inexpensive. It is, therefore, absolutely essential for panelists to ensure that it be carefully restricted to cases of abusive, bad faith registration. In particular, we must not allow it to be used by complainants to seek control of names that happened to be registered by someone else first. The mere possession of a trademark, in and of itself, does not give a party a colorable claim to a domain name under the UDRP.
A panel can make a finding of RDNH even if it is not requested by the Respondent, and indeed, even in cases where the Respondent fails to make any response.
This is stated by Panelist Richard Lyon in the womantowomanhealthcenter.com decision:
Panel’s Initiative in Considering Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. On his own initiative the Panel considers whether Complainant has engaged in Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH). This Panel firmly believes a UDRP panel may make this inquiry in an appropriate case even if not so requested by the respondent, and indeed should do so fully to discharge its obligations under the Rules, see Goway Travel Limited v. Tourism Australia, WIPO Case No. D2006-0344 (citation omitted) (“The Rules specifically put the burden on the Panel to determine whether a complainant has tried to use ‘the Policy in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain name holder of a domain name.’“), and to preserve the integrity of the UDRP process, see Credit Europe Bank N. V. v. Peter Yu, WIPO Case No. D2010-0737 (concurring opinion); Bittorrent Marketing GmbH v. Adlntensity Ltd, Adam Smith, WIPO Case No. D2007-1033 (opinion dissenting from denial of RDNH).