Rob Monster wants to get Voc(a)l.

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robmonster

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The recent UDRP decision on VOCL.com warrants review. The implications go far beyond Epik's private interest but raise fundamental issues about the ability for agencies such as WIPO to fulfill their original mandate in good faith. By their own admission, in the published decision, this case has no merit. They should have found RDNH:

"The Complainant’s allegations of bad faith at some level hinge on the actions of Mr. Lindell. .... Nevertheless, after considering all the evidence in the record, the Panel finds that the evidence in this respect supports the Respondent. Based on the evidence provided by the Respondent, the Panel is persuaded that Mr. Lindell was no longer the owner of the disputed domain name at the time the Complaint was filed on April 6, 2021.""Judging the actions of the Respondent on their own merits, separately from Mr. Lindell’s, the Panel finds that none of the Respondent’s actions fit easily in the specific examples of bad faith listed in the Policy. No evidence was presented that the Respondent has ever offered to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant. No evidence was presented that the Respondent acquired the disputed domain name to prevent the Complainant from having it. No evidence was presented that the Respondent acquired the disputed domain name with an intent to disrupt the Complainant’s business. Finally, no evidence was presented that the Respondent intended to attract consumers by confusing them about their relationship with the Complainant’s mark. "

The facts are quite simple:

1. Mike Lindell's management company bought a domain using Epik escrow for a domain that happened to be on Epik for an intended use which was unknown to me.

2. Upon receiving a cease and desist he pivoted to a different name acquired elsewhere. Without any knowledge of an imminent UDRP, Epik graciously offered to buy the domain for a wholesale price as a potential development candidate for a future project.

End of story. There was no bad faith.

Epik Holdings Inc holds domains. It owns a registrar (Epik Inc), a privacy proxy service (Anonymize, Inc) as well as incubates dozens of initiatives and has completed 10 acquisitions in the last 3 years. We are an entrepreneurial company engaged in digital empowerment initiatives, and operates as a force for greater good.

What happened here is a travesty and should be of great concern to any lawfully engaged domain owner. It should be of further great concern that WIPO would display overwhelming bias after acknowledging that the case had no merit.
 
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MapleDots

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And the question is...

Will you challenge this further or let it be?

Personally I think the entire case is rather complex and the article above strips it down to bare bones. I am always on the side of the domain owner and think unless there is clear cut bad faith the domain should never be transferred.

VOCL.com is a very nice domain name and something that would sit incredibly well in Mr Monster catalogue. It could easily have been launched as a VOCL platform of some type and the loss of such a nice domain is quite a blow.

Good luck Rob, I guess now you have to judge the price of legal to the end value of the domain. Sometimes the end value of the domain includes a project so only you can properly determine what the next step should be.


Was Frank.com procured for Lindell's project?
 

robmonster

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Thanks @MapleDots.

We agree VOCL.com is a great name. In particular, I like if for a VoIP project.

The scale of the overreach by WIPO here, compounded by the logical inconsistency in their own utterance that acknowledges registrant innocence, is what is so alarming for the industry as a whole.

We do intend to challenge this outcome. More importantly, we intend to raise questions about WIPO and ADR and their institutional fitness to govern dispute mediation for the domain industry.

As for Frank.com, no idea there.
 

Biggie

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More importantly, we intend to raise questions about WIPO and ADR and their institutional fitness to govern dispute mediation for the domain industry.
Hi

almost sounds like....
an insurrection,
to challenge the validity of the governing body, to govern
a revolution against the status quo.

who then, would rule?

imo....
 

mr-x

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Hi

almost sounds like....
an insurrection,
to challenge the validity of the governing body, to govern
a revolution against the status quo.

who then, would rule?

imo....

Maybe we could just force them to accept some ground rules that would prevent this kind of abuse. Banning arbitrators who abuse the rules would be a good start.
 

robmonster

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Hi

almost sounds like....
an insurrection,
to challenge the validity of the governing body, to govern
a revolution against the status quo.

who then, would rule?

imo....

WIPO and ADR were supposed to make the world work better -- a private dispute resolution protocol instead of using the court system. It is supposed to be a sort of "small claims court" for domain disputes.

What it seems to have become is a bounty hunter for corporate clients where a black box process is used to assign 1-3 panelists who deliberate behind closed doors to render callous disregard for private property that is used in good faith.

The issue to be pursued is not whether or not registrants will be compensated for 2 specific domains: fortini.com and vocl.com. The real issue is whether or not WIPO and ADR are fit to govern.

In the meantime, I believe scalable and cost-effective counter-measures will emerge that combine technology and process to protect the interests of registrants. Examples from Epik Holdings Inc:

DNProtect.com is a partial solution in allowing domain owners to mitigate against loss through pooled access to resources who work to protect domain assets.

DNAdvocate.com is an emerging solution for specifically engaging legal counsel for navigating the intellectual property landscape.
 

MapleDots

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Personally I would get vocal about this one, I would not let them take away a domain like that from me. A challenge of some type would follow. I would even consider launching a UDRP after the domain transfers hoping to get a number of panelists with more objective opinions.

Can you launch a UDRP afterwards to try and claim back?
 

Neoget

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I was abstaining for long time but we should also question this UDRP law or what it is, and say that UDRP is indeed used in bad faith to allow those entities to grab domains free of charge.
 

Neoget

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I was abstaining for long time but we should also question this UDRP law or what it is, and say that UDRP is indeed used in bad faith to allow those entities to grab domains free of charge.
Additonally, imagine someone comes to you and say "you know your house is located on our trademarked street we now own the whole street and UDRP will help us to wipe your house free of charge from our street, go find another street to build your house" this is something similar to Nissan case.
I propose to remake the DN laws and I m sure those who are in charge at ICANN and Verisign will read, the law is (first come first served) and must be applied to all DN's, so the one who first registered a DN and keeps renewing is the original owner even after it was dropped and catched by other new owner, no matter of the available trademarks of physical shop or product, if they really want those domains they must buy from the current owner in every possible way, even agree on leasing it if you can't afford the BIN, because you can't get a physical house free of charge by law or maybe there is some UDRP for physical houses that we are not aware of, in fact we have such cases here in my country where laws don't matter but big money, it is named Law of Money short LOM so big money makes laws.
Also if the ICANN, Verisign and others who are in charge of the whole internet, if you are so smart out there then why not just reserve those names in a special vault at ICANN as soon as a trademark is created? Something similar you did with special short one letter and numbers domains and at the proper request release them to the trademark owners free of charge or special premium reg fee. Of course this must apply only to newly created names not already registered.
 

Biggie

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Hi

from what i gather
there were some conflicts of interests that persuaded that decision, along with some contrary or contradictory statements submitted.

The inaccurate disclosures in this case also call into question the certification in the Response, signed by the Respondent’s counsel, Daniel R. Price, “that the information contained in this Response is to the best of the Respondent’s knowledge complete and accurate, that this Response is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, and that the assertions in this Response are warranted under the Rules and under applicable law, as it now exists or as it may be extended by a good-faith and reasonable argument.” The documentation that the Respondent eventually submitted with its second and third supplemental submissions directly contradicts the representations in the initial Response, which at minimum makes the Panel question Mr. Price’s due diligence in signing the certification.

also, there seems to be an issue, as it relates to ICANN policy, when the registrar, the ceo and the privacy service are all run by same person

Given the Respondent’s misconduct and misrepresentations as discussed above, the Panel would not in any event consider it appropriate to enter a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking in favor of the Respondent.


but, there is something i noticed, which might help:

Further supporting this inference is the fact that the Respondent’s explanation for purchasing the disputed domain name is not credible. In his declaration, Mr. Monster explained that he purchased the disputed domain name because he “the disputed domain showed a NameRenter landing page for several years,” and Mr. Monster “intended to use it in exactly the same way.” According to the Internet Wayback Machine, the disputed domain name was previously offered for use through NameRenter for USD100 per year. Such a use would hardly justify purchasing the disputed domain name for USD10,000.

above, they note the price difference, as an unjustified purchase price, which is used against the respondent...
however, they fail to show the incremental price increases for those types of names and what they would be worth today, in the marketplace.

being able to justify paying that amount, could nullify that.
however....
if, the respondent had of used the domain "exactly", as they stated they would, then perhaps things may have been different:
Indeed, contrary to Mr. Monster’s representation, he is not using the disputed domain name in exactly the same way. Rather, at least as early as April 15, 2021, and continuing through the date of this decision, the disputed domain name resolves not to a NameRenter page but to a page offering the disputed domain name for sale. Specifically, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name for a website that states, inter alia:



Epik
vocl.com



ACCEPTING OFFERS



Domain owner will consider reasonable offers
MAKE OFFER



CONTACT DOMAIN OWNER




though the perceived notion of taking advantage in buying the name for 75% less, 4 days earlier might not go away.
along with prior knowledge of pending complaint:

Most troubling to the Panel is that Respondent purchased the disputed domain name from Mr. Lindell whom, the Respondent knew, would be at risk of a loss in a legal challenge. The Respondent appears to have taken advantage of that opportunity by buying the disputed domain name from Mr. Lindell for a price which represented a significant 75 per cent reduction from the price Mr. Lindell paid just four days earlier. These facts support an inference that the Respondent was attempting to cleanse the bad faith that was attached to the disputed domain name by changing the ownership of the disputed domain name. Although this conduct is not technically cyberflight, since the transfer was made before the Complainant filed the instant proceeding, it appears to be a conceptually related effort at bad faith given that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant’s objections at the time he acquired the disputed domain name. Cf. WIPO Overview 3.0, section 4.4.6.

after reading in entirety, to me, it looks like an uphill battle
for sure, i'm no lawyer, but i can, follow the logic.

perhaps for the future, as this case may set precedence....
one might consider "divesting" interest in some of those holdings - unless they can be legitimized from an ICANN review.

Again, Good Luck!

imo...


 

robmonster

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@Biggie - it was a parking lander and it remained a parking lander. Regardless, there was no bad faith. There is no evidence of bad faith. The ruling said as much, but then goes on to build a narrative around ad hominem.
 

mr-x

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Not the WIPO's or even ICANN's place to say who can or can't buy and sell domains. That is up to the Government of each country.
 

MapleDots

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Not the WIPO's or even ICANN's place to say who can or can't buy and sell domains. That is up to the Government of each country.
Really?

The government?

If that is true I quit domaining!!!
 

mr-x

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Really?

The government?

If that is true I quit domaining!!!
This may come as a shock.. but governments make laws and rules for businesses to follow. That is why the USA should not have turned ICANN or .com over to international control.

Then you'd have actual recourse when a petty bureaucrat oversteps their role and declares you are making too much profit or your primary business excludes you from competing in the open market.



1629640132149.png
 
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Neoget

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I have read today the entire case.
The VOCL is a broad acronym and can be used for anything, the complainant is not worthy of owning that domain free of charge, he did not invent that domain name, he is primarily targeting the .COM TLD and not the others, his trademark was not VOCL at all and it even does not cover the entire physical or digital world he is not (GOD) but his creation, you own only what you hold at the moment.

This is a little bit obsucre, because how can you allow a trademark owner to own a domain if he is not the original creator of that DN in (?) there are prety allot of VOCL in other TLD's, gTLD's and ccTLD's which other Registry are benefiting from the reg/renewals and they do not block such regs.

For example vocl\net is at 280$ at SAV and no body cares much to buy it, the complainant main target is only the .COM as many of them do, only to gather this TLD and not the others.

The Complainant is a Nevada corporation that operates a social media platform under the name “Vocal,” which is located at the URL “vocal.media.” The Complainant owns a United States trademark registration for VOCAL (Reg. No. 5,438,308, registered on April 3, 2018), and has used the VOCAL mark publically in connection with its business for slightly less than five years.

Then go and get your .US domain name and stop grabbing the .COM domnains, the .COM is a global TLD and it does not belong to your country, you should better advertise into your US citizens mind the .us ccTLD so they understand that they can have only that ccTLD and not the global, to own the global TLD you will have to buy it from current owner this is what my panel decided.

P.s. I m not sure if I have read but what is the Complainants name (?), I can't recall them to mention his name in that case but only his trademark and website, or I have missed it somewhere cause EN is not my native.
 

mr-x

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I have read today the entire case.
The VOCL is a broad acronym and can be used for anything, the complainant is not worthy of owning that domain free of charge, he did not invent that domain name, he is primarily targeting the .COM TLD and not the others, his trademark was not VOCL at all and it even does not cover the entire physical or digital world he is not (GOD) but his creation, you own only what you hold at the moment.

This is a little bit obsucre, because how can you allow a trademark owner to own a domain if he is not the original creator of that DN in (?) there are prety allot of VOCL in other TLD's, gTLD's and ccTLD's which other Registry are benefiting from the reg/renewals and they do not block such regs.

For example vocl\net is at 280$ at SAV and no body cares much to buy it, the complainant main target is only the .COM as many of them do, only to gather this TLD and not the others.

The Complainant is a Nevada corporation that operates a social media platform under the name “Vocal,” which is located at the URL “vocal.media.” The Complainant owns a United States trademark registration for VOCAL (Reg. No. 5,438,308, registered on April 3, 2018), and has used the VOCAL mark publically in connection with its business for slightly less than five years.

Then go and get your .US domain name and stop grabbing the .COM domnains, the .COM is a global TLD and it does not belong to your country, you should better advertise into your US citizens mind the .us ccTLD so they understand that they can have only that ccTLD and not the global, to own the global TLD you will have to buy it from current owner this is what my panel decided.

P.s. I m not sure if I have read but what is the Complainants name (?), I can't recall them to mention his name in that case but only his trademark and website, or I have missed it somewhere cause EN is not my native.

UDRP can be won based on trademarks registered in Europe, Asia, etc.. I think the country of TM registration is not as important as the date of registration.

Vocal seems to be a popular name so seems obvious Vocal Media doesn't have full rights to the word.

471 Records(s) found (This page: 1 ~ 50)

1629644861394.png
 

mr-x

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I'm not a lawyer but this doesn't seem like a tough case. It was a bad decision and will be overturned. Seems like simple RDNH abetted by a corrupt / incompetent arbitrator.
 

Neoget

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Also one important thing, why this Complainant is not trying to grab Vocal(com) or they can't afford it?
But of course vocl(com) should be easier to grab because it's cheaper and shorter.

I have read how Nissan is preparing to apply a trademark for offering PC services just to grab the Nissan(com) what bad behavior have this people, not sure how they will achieve that caue Nissan is older than their car brand.
 

mr-x

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Also one important thing, why this Complainant is not trying to grab Vocal(com) or they can't afford it?
But of course vocl(com) should be easier to grab because it's cheaper and shorter.

I have read how Nissan is preparing to apply a trademark for offering PC services just to grab the Nissan(com) what bad behavior have this people, not sure how they will achieve that caue Nissan is older than their car brand.
Re: Nissan. From what I understand prior use would prevent Nissan Corp from getting a tm.
 
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