Vertical Axis Inc. represented by Ari and Jason at ESQwire.com, just beat back a UDRP on the domain name Ritchey.com
The complaint was brought by Ritchey Design, Inc. of Nevada which is a “company specializing in bicycle components established in 1974 which has registrations for RITCHEY in the US, Canada and the European Community for bicycle components and distributes in over 40 countries, through more than 200 distributors and has a worldwide revenue of $22.5 million
The domain has been owned by Vertical Axis since 2007 when they acquired it along with a domain portfolio and has been parked with a very generic page since.
Prior to the acquisition of Vertical Axis the domain was parked by the previous owner to links with” numerous references to bicycles, bicycle accessories and the bicycle industry in general in these links, including the Complainant’s competitors”
In all a Good case illustrating good faith domain purchase and no bad faith use.
Here are the highlights from the three member panel decision of Dawn Osborne, Flip Jan Claude Petillion and Neil Brown Q.C:
The Complainant argued that the doctrine of laches is not applicable under the Policy because the Respondent has not been prejudiced by the delay, but has rather benefited from the PPC advertisement revenue for a long time.
It is agreed between the parties that under the Policy if there is an assignment of a domain name the date of registration for the purposes of any domain name dispute involving the new owner is the date of purchase of the name.
The Respondent acquired the Domain Name in 2007 as part of a large portfolio containing many domain names which are almost exclusively generic or descriptive.
Before that date the parties agree that the website attached to the Domain Name contained a lot of links to third party sites involved with the bicycle industry. Since 2007 the parties agree that the links have been general links to third party businesses and not related to bicycles or ancillary goods and services.
The Respondent says that “Ritchey” is a common surname and that it acquired it to sell in that capacity unaware of the Complainant or its business at the time of purchase.
In a case where the domain name unequivocally indicated the complainant, such as
There are other businesses out there using the “Ritchey” name and many people called “Ritchey” who might be interested in purchasing ritchey.com if they started a business.
Upon examining the evidence in this case, unfortunately, the Complainant has failed to show that on the balance of probabilities that it was a Ritchey business in the contemplation of the Respondent at the time of the registration or that the Respondent has any link with the bad faith use made of the Domain Name showing knowledge of the RITCHEY trade mark for bicycles before it was acquired by the Respondent.
Further, the Panel agrees with the Respondent that sale of domain names containing common surnames without proof of targeting of a trade mark and use of privacy services are normal business practices and since there has been no suggestion of the Respondent giving false contact details or not participating in these proceedings this is not evidence of bad faith in itself.
Finally, the list of other domain names purchased at the same time as the Domain Name are predominately generic and descriptive suggesting, as the Respondent suggests, good faith purchase of a descriptive portfolio.
The Panel declines to apply the doctrine of laches in this case, however agrees that delay can affect the outcome of cases if it makes it harder to determine on the evidence the intentions of a party some time ago.
There is no evidence across the seven years that the Respondent has been using the Domain Name that it has been targeting the Complainant.
In that sense the delay benefits the Respondent as on the balance of probabilities there is no evidence that bad faith use was intended.
As such the Panel finds that that there is no evidence of the Respondent registering and using the Domain Name in bad faith under the Policy. “”