A UDRP was filed against the domain investor-owned IndoorBillboard.com domain name at the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). The decision was published today, and the domain registrant prevailed and will retain this generic domain name. The three member panel discussed Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH), and it ruled this was an abusive filing. The domain registrant was represented by Jason Schaeffer of ESQWire.com.
The complainant in this filing is a company called Indoor Billboard/Northwest, Inc. It argued that it has a trademark for the “indoor billboard” term and that it “received notoriety” for the term. The panel felt that the complainant did not offer up any evidence to that affect:
“In that connection, while Complainant alleges notoriety in its INDOOR BILLBOARD name, Complainant proffers no evidence to demonstrate any reputation at all in this name either a decade ago or currently. “
In addition to this, the panel felt the respondent provided enough evidence to show that the term is generic, and the domain registrant acquired the domain name because of its generic nature rather than becauase of the complainant’s trademark branding:
“Respondent, by contrast, provides sufficient evidence to allow the Panel to find that Respondent registered the domain name for its inherent value as a descriptive term.
By way of example, Respondent makes clear that its business involves the acquisition of domain names that may have inherent value because of their generic meaning (including solarbatteries.com, culturaldiversity.com, thrillrides.com, dinnershow.com, debtservices.com, electionlaw.com, learnhindi.com and others).
It has also demonstrated that “INDOOR BILLBOARDS” is used by a number of businesses and industry organizations to describe a specific type of advertising.
Therefore, there is no evidence of bad faith use and/or registration.”
This was enough to fend off the UDRP, and the respondent also requested that the panel rule on RDNH. The panel ruled it was RDNH for several reasons:
“It is clear to the Panel that Complainant has, despite having the benefit of counsel, pursued its case a) without any supporting evidence in respect of Respondent’s rights/legitimate interest, and b) without any supporting evidence in respect of Respondent’s alleged bad faith, and importantly c) by making assertions that appear to be inaccurate in a way that, unchecked by the Respondent, could have given Complainant an unfair advantage in respect of the outcome of the proceedings.”