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Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

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Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is defined in paragraph 1 of the Rules as “using the Policy in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain name holder of a domain name.”

Reverse domain name hijacking (which is also known as reverse cybersquatting) happens when a trademark owner tries to secure a domain name by making false cybersquatting claims against a domain name’s rightful owner through legal action (e.g., cease and desist, lawsuit) or UDRP. These actions often intimidate domain name owners into transferring ownership of the domain name to trademark owners to avoid legal action and costly expenses, particularly when the domain names belong to smaller organizations or individuals without financial resources to fight the action.

Reverse domain name hijacking is most commonly perpetrated by larger corporations and famous individuals. Other than a ruling in the UDRP decision in favor of the domain name registrant, there are no monetary damages or penalty for such behavior. However, that did not stop a judge on February 28, 2011 from awarding Scott Day’s DigiMedia.com LP $103,717 related to a failed reverse domain name hijacking attempt by GoForIt Entertainment (source).

In writing its decision, the UDRP review Panel has to have regard to paragraph 15(e) of the Rules and in particular the following sentence namely:
“If after considering the submissions the Panel finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith, for example in an attempt at reverse domain name hijacking or was brought primarily to harass the domain name holder, the Panel shall declare in its Decision that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the Administrative Proceeding.

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