A frustrated UDRP Panel in Jessica and James Perkins – Mama May I, LLC v. Chris Phillips recently denied the Complainant Jessica Perkins’ (Mama May I, LLC) request to transfer the domain mamamayi.com. The panel had sharp words for both parties, but was particularly upset with the Complainant’s conduct including what it determined were Complainant’s blatant false statements/allegations in the complaint and explained that “[t]his decision was written in an effort to provide guidance about unacceptable conduct for future UDRP parties and proceedings… Complainant has engaged in an attempted reverse domain hijacking, which is a perversion of the UDRP process.”
Although it is tough to figure out exactly who the Complainant is and what he/she/it owns, we do know that Ms. Jessica Perkins (a listed party on the UDRP Complaint) runs an online shop that sells childrens toys at the website www.etsy.com/shop/MamaMayIstory, and has rights in that site and the domains mamamayiblog.com and mamamayishop.com through the entity “Tek Perks Digital Consulting Corporation.”
When the Panel read the Complaint it did not see the facts as alleged adding up, noting that “this Panel does not normally independently investigate or confirm the parties’ allegations in a UDRP proceeding. Such matters are supposed to be decided on the papers. Additional evidence was gathered here solely because of contradictions in Complainant’s submission.” Doing so, the Panel found that the entity Mama May I, LLC did not exist. It further found that Complainant’s alleged trademark application to the USPTO for the mark MAMA MAY I (Reg. No. 4,111,886) was likely fraudulent because the application was also in the name of the non-existent Mama May I, LLC.
In addition to denying the transfer, the Panel determined the complaint was filed in bad faith under Policy 15(e) in an attempt at Reverse Domain Name hijacking. It explained that Complainant had abused the UDRP process by making repeated offers to purchase the domain, and when the Respondent failed to deliver as agreed decided to try and force the Respondent to give it up by filing a trademark application under the non-existent LLC, and then pursuing a UDRP complaint. The Panel’s unwinding of the facts in its decision reads like a (domain) mystery on Law & Order.
In sum, the decision should give pause to anyone who thinks that they can fudge the facts and file a UDRP based on those facts, and use the USPTO as a proxy to unlawfully claim that it has rights to a name or mark.