This UDRP Should Not Have Been Filed – Domain Name Wire
…or it definitely should have been removed later.
Last week, the National Arbitration Forum issued a decision for the openbots.com domain in favor of the domain owner. I believe that this case should never have been filed and, giving the plaintiff’s most favorable reading, should undoubtedly have been withdrawn after receipt of the response.
OpenBots, Inc., which uses openbots.ai, filed the dispute.
At the time he filed the dispute, openbots.com has not resolved. The complainant said he tried to contact the owner about the domain, but got no response. And like almost every domain these days, the domain also had Whois privacy by default.
Thus, the Complainant was probably frustrated in its attempt to acquire the domain.
However, OpenBots, Inc. is a relatively new company. The trademark it relies on in its complaint indicates first commercial use in 2020. Openbots.com was registered in 2003, so the company should have identified something to suggest that the domain has changed ownership since 2020.
Historical Whois records show that the domain has been with Namecheap under its Whois privacy since before this date, and its name servers have not changed during this time. I can’t find anything in the historical records to indicate a change.
I think a plaintiff’s law firm should at least make an effort to review historical records before filing a complaint. There is no indication here that the plaintiff had any rights prior to the registration of the domain by the current owner, so the case was dead on arrival.
If you want to give the plaintiff some leeway, he definitely should have withdrawn the case once the identity of the domain owner was revealed. As part of the post-GDPR UDRP process, the National Arbitration Forum would have revealed this information to the Complainant and would have given him the opportunity to modify the file.
And if you want to give even more leeway, the company should have pulled out when the respondent confirmed its 2003 ownership.
It doesn’t appear that the respondent requested reverse domain name hijacking, but I think panelist Douglas Isenberg should have considered it.
And, if there were to be any changes to the UDRP in the future, I think the request should ask the complainant to clearly state whether they are claiming any pre-registration rights to the domain.