Sin Spirits LLC represented by George M. Dipp, Texas has been found Guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) making it the third RDNH ruling of the day which must be a record, on the domain name SinVodka.com
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on November 9, 1997 as evidenced by the Whois records.
Complainant makes four attempts to negotiate a purchase of the disputed domain name at Domainsales and Sedo.com on May 6, May 10, May 12 and May 27, 2014, but does not agree to the price offer and thus fails to negotiate the sale of the domain of interest.
On May 8, 2014 Complainant registered the legal entity Sin Spirits LLC with the Texas Secretary of State.
On May 14, 2014, namely more than 6 years after the registration of the disputed domain name by Respondent and shortly after the negotiations for sales of the disputed domain name broke off, Complainant filed a trademark application (Serial No. 86280743) to the USPTO seeking for registration of the “SIN SPIRITS” trademark in class 33, particularly for distilled spirits, spirits, spirits and liquors, vodka.
This is not only because the mere filing of a trademark application which has not been examined (namely no issuance took place) does not confer trademark rights under the Policy (See ECG European City Guide v. Woodell, FA 183897 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 14, 2003), and thus is not sufficient to establish rights in a trademark necessary to satisfy Policy 4 (a)(i), but also because no evidence could be submitted by Complainant showing that it might hold any common law rights based on prior use of the “SIN SPIRITS” trademark as the USPTO records clearly show that the application was filed based on an intent to use. Moreover, nowhere in his submission does Complainant allege that he has been using the mark or might have been known under this mark.
Thus, taking into account that registration of the disputed domain by Respondent, significantly pre-dating the trademark filing by Complainant, cannot be treated as the registration in bad faith, and further research into the second element of the Policy also makes no sense as Complainant, having not established the first element of the Policy, has no ground to allege that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain, the Panel decides to decline further analysis of the other two elements of the Policy.
Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
Having found that
– the registration of the domain significantly pre-dates trademark filing by Complainant (which, as mentioned before, does not confer trademark rights to Complainant) and of which Complainant was well aware when he brought the present complaint, and
– the trademark filing was made, and the present complaint was filed following unsuccessful attempts to negotiate sales of the disputed domain,
The Panel has come to a conclusion that the complaint was filed in bad faith, abusing the Policy in order to acquire the domain name, and thus such activities of Complainant qualify for an attempt of reverse domain name hijacking in the meaning of Rule 1 of the UDRP Policy.