A Domain Lawyer’s View of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
Domain attorney Karen Bernstein discussses (lack of) reverse domain name hijacking findings.
Earlier today Domain Name Wire published a guest article by The Hon. Neil Brown, a domain arbitrator, about how he approaches reverse domain name hijacking (RDNH) decisions.
Last week I caught up with New York domain attorney Karen Bernstein to discuss RDNH.
Bernstein has reason to be frustrated about domain disputes and the lack of RDNH decisions. She was the respondent’s representative in the case of CheapAutosInsurance.com, which DNW covered last month. In this case, an auto insurance company with a federal trademark for “Cheap Auto Insurance” unsuccessfully tried to get the domain as an upgrade to its cheap-auto-insurance.com domain name. The complainants’ actions in the case were particularly egregious.
“They did a classic data dump,” said Bernstein. “In the initial papers, they attached hundreds of snapshots of their web site dating back to 1998.” The complainant then submitted an additional submission of 800 pages. It included copies of insurance licenses in many states, none of which referred to “Cheap Auto Insurance”.
The complainant lost this case and one for CheapAutoInsurance.com (singular ‘autos’), but in neither case did the panels find it guilty of RDNH.
Bernstein said that companies believe that, just because they have trademarks, they can “swoop in and get these domain names”. She believes that complainants should pay a penalty if found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking. “There should be some sort of recourse,” she said. “I think it should be attorney’s fees and arbitration fees. There has to be some sort of deterrent to stop the filing of these frivolous cases.”
Although many people would like to see complainants that abuse the process pay a fine, the first struggle is getting arbitrators to find complainants guilty of RDNH in the first place.
Alleman, Andrew. “A Domain Lawyer’s View of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking – Domain Name Wire.” Web log post. Domain Name Wire. Domain Name Wire, 13 July 2009. <http://domainnamewire.com/2009/07/13/a-domain-lawyers-view-of-reverse-domain-name-hijacking/>.