Decision

Case Information

Case Number:
15988-UDRP
Case Status:
Decision Published
Dispute Domain(s):
vandorp.com
Complainant:
Adrianus Theodorus van Dorp
Respondent:
MailPlanet.com, Inc.
Panel:
Gerald Levine,
Date Response Filed:
September 9, 2021 7:44 am PDT
Date Decision Rendered:
September 20, 2021 10:25 am PDT
Case Actions:
Print Decision

Decision

Reverse Domain Name Hijacking:

The Panel may wish to consider whether the circumstances of this complaint are deserving of a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.  Mr. Van Dorp has filed an entirely frivolous complaint that fails to provide evidence to support any of the three criteria required for a successful complaint.  The complaint fails on its face.

The complaint is a clear example of misusing the UDRP as a Plan “B” in an attempt to acquire a domain name sought for commercial purposes when an acquisition attempt is unsuccessful through other channels.  Mr. Van Dorp acknowledges in his complaint that the reason he filed a complaint under the UDRP is because he wishes the Panel to make use of its powers of transfer granted under the UDRP to transfer vandorp.com to him so that he may use the vandorp.com domain name for a prospective business, not because the Respondent has violated the UDRP in any fashion.

Mr. Van Dorp emailed the Respondent on at least two occasions (Annex H) expressing his desire to acquire the domain name (yet failed to include this correspondence in his complaint).  When he did not receive a response, he filed a UDRP complaint as an alternative means to secure a domain name that he admits he wishes to obtain not because it infringes on his (non-existent) trademark rights but because he desires to use it for a prospective business.

In a follow up email to MailPlanet.com’s parent company Telepathy, Inc. (Annex I) and in his Complaint (Complaint Annex 9), Mr. Van Dorp acknowledges that he is aware that Telepathy, Inc.  (the parent company of MailPlanet.com, Inc.) uses the SecuredOffers.com service to handle inquiries regarding its domain names.   Mr. Van Dorp was aware that the fee to use SecuredOffers.com is $19 and that use of the service guaranteed a quick response from the domain name owner to a purchase inquiry.  Rather than spend $19 to enter into discussions with Respondent regarding his interest in acquiring the vandorp.com domain name, Mr. Van Dorp initiated this dispute instead.

Mr. Van Dorp has misused the UDRP to harass the Respondent.  Mr. Van Dorp by filing a frivolous complaint has placed Respondent’s domain name in jeopardy and has forced Respondent to devote considerable time and energy to responding to his allegations, time and energy that Respondent had desired to devote to other matters.

Mr. Van Dorp has recklessly accused Respondent of bad faith and has attempted to tarnish Respondent’s reputation without any basis.

Mr. Van Dorp has filed a false certification.  He certified that the Complaint was “complete and accurate”.  It was not complete as he failed to include his correspondence with the Respondent and its parent company, Telepathy, Inc. (attached here as Annexes H and I).  He has attempted to mislead the panel by failing to include a complete record.  His correspondence is material to the allegations raised by the complaint as it is evidence that his interest in the domain names is due to his wish to use them for his own business not due to any bad faith use of the Disputed Domain Name by the Respondent.

Mr. Van Dorp also filed a false certification in that he certified “that the assertions in this Complaint are warranted under the Rules” when the assertions in the Complaint that Respondent’s conduct violated the Policy were entirely baseless.

As UDRP scholar Gerald Levine notes in his article on the topic, filing a false certification is grounds for a finding of RDNH (https://iplegalcorner.com/false-certification-of-udrp-complaint-major-international-corporation-represented-by-counsel/).

Some panels decline to find Reverse Domain Name Hijacking when a complainant is self-represented on the grounds that the complaint was “misconceived” rather than an abuse of the Policy.   This raises the question of what responsibility a complainant has, even a self-represented one, when it initiates a UDRP proceeding,   Those panels who fail to call out abuse when it occurs tacitly encourage further abuse of the UDRP.

In this dispute, the complainant extensively researched the history of the disputed domain name, and investigated the respondent, its parent company, Telepathy, and their business practices, yet utterly failed to comply with the evidentiary requirements of the Policy itself.  The Policy is clear as to the criteria that must be met with supporting evidence, yet Mr. Van Dorp has demonstrated utter disregard for the requirements of the Policy.

In the recent dispute at WIPO regarding lerins.com (https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2021-1861), the three-member panel unanimously found RDNH.   In the lerins.com dispute, as in this one, the domain name at issue is based on a last name, the complainant was self-represented, there was no evidence of bad faith targeting, yet unlike in lerins.com, in this matter there was not even an offer to sell the domain name.

Similarly in the hottie.com dispute (https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2016-1975), the three-member panel made a unanimous finding of RDNH against the self-represented complainant on the basis that: “The UDRP was intended to serve as an efficient means of redress against cybersquatters, not a cheap alternative to commercial negotiation with legitimate domain name holders.”  Similar reasoning would apply to the instant dispute.

While a finding of RDNH is itself a weak sanction with no accompanying penalty, it does have value as a public statement by the Panel that the Complainant has misused the Policy for improper purposes.  I would respectfully suggest that an RDNH finding is deserved under the circumstances.

Decision Summary:

Complaint dismissed on the grounds that Complainant has not satisfied its burden under Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy of proving that it has a trademark or service mark. Thus, it has no standing to maintain this proceeding.

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