Reverse Domain Name Hijacking sprouts from domain owners choosing confusing or identical names to the existing trademarks. It happens when a person fraudulently seeks to acquire a domain name on the basis of the name being similar to his or her existing trademark. The UDRP defines it as filing of a complaint in bad faith that results in abuse of UDRP administrative process. The term bad faith is quite broad and several times much thought and decision making has to be put into the task of assigning a complaint justly as belonging to bad faith category or not.

The idea of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is harmful for the owners of small domains as they flinch at going to the courts. Due to this tendency to stay away from legal proceedings, as well as the intimidating nature of big organizations with their legal teams, rightful owners tend to transfer their domains to the one making the complaint. However, it is shocking that many cases involve big organizations and names. We look at a case to show the exact extent of this problem.

Arif Develier vs Domain Administrator

The one who filed the complaint was a Turkish national claiming that the name ‘Develi’ was used in relation to a chain of restaurants his grandfather had started a century ago. The respondent claimed that the name ‘Develi’ has a non-trademark meaning that arises from the Turkish city of Develi, established 200 years ago.

The court agreed with this claim by the respondent and regarded the complaint as a case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking as it believed the complainant must have known that his claim was baseless and without evidence. The Queen of England, in 2002, made a similar case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking as she owned the trademark rights to the name of the country New Zealand.

A similar verdict was given by the court then, saying that the name holds for a geographical region and can therefore not be used as a trademark.

How to Deal with Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

If you are the rightful owner of a domain then you need not be worried whenever anyone claims their right on the domain you own. You can deal with the issue in the following steps:

  1. Do not get intimidated by the accuser and bow down to them in selling your domain to them. Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is an offense and you can rather appeal to the court for the false accuser to compensate for the legal proceedings you had to involve yourself in just to justify that you are the rightful owner of a domain.
  2. Hire a lawyer who deals with Internet laws as soon as something like this occurs. Lawyers can help you greatly in the proceedings and put the whole fiasco to rest sooner. Representing yourself can backfire easily.
  3. Ask the court to label the case as a case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. This would raise an alarm for any big company doing any such thing since news reporters and websites list their names under headings like ‘guilty of reverse domain name hijacking’ which can cause serious damage to their reputation. This can also enable you to ask the complaint maker to compensate for your troubles.

Conclusion

This is a serious issue that affects more people than one can imagine. Other than resulting in the defendant spending money in the legal proceedings, it can also harm their business as they are not allowed to sell their domain during the time the case has not been settled. So one should always hire an internet lawyer and ask the court to brand the accuser as the practitioner of reverse domain name hijacking. Whether the accuser is a small time or big time player, you should stick to your ground.