Earlier this week the NAF issued a decision over the domain name www.aspenheights.com denying the complaint on the basis that there was no evidence of bad faith.
The decision is noteworthy because the evidence in the case showed that the complainant’s counsel had contacted the respondent numerous times (including via Linkedin chat) and asked it to name its price to sell the domain name to the complainant. Even so, complainant apparently argued that the communications around these contacts showed evidence of bad faith – i.e., registration of the domain for the purpose of selling it back to the complainant (trademark holder).
The Panel saw through this argument quite clearly, framing the evidence in the following manner:
“Respondent alleges that Complainant’s counsel sent several communications requesting that Respondent sell the domain name, including a ‘notice of interest’ as well as LinkedIn chat messages to Respondent and its counsel. Respondent claims that it did not respond to any of these requests, as it did not want to sell the domain name. The Panel notes that there is evidence suggesting that it was Complainant, not Respondent, who sought to see this domain name sold.”
Although the Panel denied the respondent’s reverse domain hijacking claim, the complainant appeared to hurt its own case and credibility by making the above argument. Although there may be circumstances where a respondent pursues the opportunity to sell a domain to a trademark holder at a substantial profit, or aggressively pursues a sale opportunity that is initiated by the complainant, the facts to support a finding of bad faith should not (as in this case) evidence that the aggressor was the complainant’s counsel multiple times...