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Just been served a UDRP by Warner Bros, need help!

Discussion in 'Domain Name Disputes' started by spobin, Aug 19, 2011.

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  1. spobin

    spobin Member

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    Hello everyone,

    Yesterday I received a spectacularly blunt email from lawyers representing Warner Bros notifying me of a UDRP complaint that they've filed against me for my domain thehangover3.com. A domain I registered in December last year (before the film had been announced) and have always intended to use. I know that they're a multi billion dollar company and don't have time for small fries like me but a courteous email would have been much more polite than a blank email with nothing but attached legal documents, but anyway.

    I've read all through KingDomainNames' thread here and the community seems to suggest that the best course of action is to avoid all contact with the lawyers, delete the domain and move on. While I'm sure this is sound advice, I can't really take it as a) on the request of Warner Bros, Tucows has frozen the domain, meaning no transfers or deletion can take place, and b) I first want to know if I have a chance of beating Warner Bros and keeping the domain.

    So I've been swatting up on what a UDRP is (I didn't know it existed until yesterday), the grounds on which my friends at Warner Bros have filed this complaint and also how I go about responding.

    Unfortunately I seem to have shot myself in the foot by automatically putting a 'for sale' notice on this domain (it used to be my default holding page on all my domains) as it gives them good grounds to argue that I registered the domain in "bad faith" and that I only intended to sell it on for profit. However, if the film was actually announced I genuinely intended to create a blog about the film and get some organic traffic going rather than just going straight for a sale.

    Currently I'm wondering if I should try and build my blog anyway and fight back on the following grounds (from the UDRP):

    "you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue."

    or whether I should capitulate and let them take the domain.

    Any help would be very much appreciated.

    tl;dr Warner Bros lawyers have filed a UDRP complaint against me and I'm wondering if I have grounds to fight or not.
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. rob

    rob Founding Member

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    Why did you reg thehangover3.com ?
     
  4. admin Spain

    admin Administrator Staff Member

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    I can't imagine any other use for this domain than trying to profit off their films so IMO you get what you deserve.

    Admin
     
  5. spobin

    spobin Member

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    I liked the last two films, I thought I could start a popular blog about the third. I was surprised that it hadn't been taken.

    Fair enough.
     
  6. Blossom

    Blossom Well-Known Member

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    Don't think you have a leg to stand on. If that was the case you could have regged a fan-style name or even hangoverblog.com.

    Also, how much blogging could you actually do on the back of a film? Mostly likely the third one won't be great, and even if it is it's never going to be iconic. You might get a year's worth of posts if you're extremely creative, do content spinning or only blog once every couple of weeks. Waste of time for a blog. A subdomain with articles, ratings, reviews etc. might work but there's so much competition from IMDB and big media sites there's no point.
     
  7. golddiggerguy United Kingdom

    golddiggerguy Well-Known Member

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    Give it up :rolleyes:

    You may incurr costs if a panel are submitted at the minimum.
    At worst they'll bend you over and teach you a lesson!

    Also they'll be on sites like this with Google alerts so they'll know about this post! They aint daft.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  8. spobin

    spobin Member

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    Why would that be a problem? I've got nothing to hide.
     
  9. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    You only registered it BECAUSE OF THE FILMS. It has literally £0.00 value as a name in and of itself, the only conceivable value is because of its association to the current/future films.

    From where I'm sitting, that's cybersquatting, pure and simple.

    That means they win. Best give up now before you start incurring real costs. They were kind enough to UDRP you, after all, instead of taking you directly to court (which some companies are doing) which would have automatically meant real costs.
     
  10. spobin

    spobin Member

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    Maybe I'll send them a bunch of flowers along with my capitulation :p. Seriously though, you're probably right.

    Do you have experience of a UDRP? Assuming I do capitulate, I don't actually know how to go about handing the domain over. I've been invited to a dispute forum on adrforum.com but as far as I can tell there's no way to bend to their commands. If I just leave it will it automatically go through as their victory?
     
  11. foz

    foz Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    If a UDRP has been lodged the filing fee will have been paid?
     
  12. spobin

    spobin Member

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    all $1,300 of it, yes. By Warner Bros, not me.
     
  13. foz

    foz Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    So its likely counsel will see this one through and a decision made by an expert.

    Was their a C&D?
     
  14. golddiggerguy United Kingdom

    golddiggerguy Well-Known Member

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    I'd look into it more as I've just this month gone through similar but not cybersquatting and I remember a date it clicked over soon that if you lost you paid.

    I just missed the date, but mine came to a nice ending for all parties ;)
     
  15. spobin

    spobin Member

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    I don't know what that means. Oh, maybe cease & desist? I'm still not sure what you're getting at. All I've received is a notice of an UDRP complaint.
     
  16. spobin

    spobin Member

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    Congrats on your happy resolution. I really hope that I don't have to pay their expenses. I'd have just given them the domain if they'd emailed me before they lodged the complaint. Maybe they're making an example of me. Bastards.
     
  17. foz

    foz Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    I don't think the expert can award costs under a UDRP. Lawyers make far more $$$ lodging the complaint (more billing time) than through mediation/resolution.
     
  18. spobin

    spobin Member

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    I'm currently scouring the docs trying to find any mention of this. I really hope you're right, I can't afford that kind of money.

    edit: looks like I'm safe:

    "g. Fees. All fees charged by a Provider in connection with any dispute before an Administrative Panel pursuant to this Policy shall be paid by the complainant, except in cases where you elect to expand the Administrative Panel from one to three panelists as provided in Paragraph 5(b)(iv) of the Rules of Procedure, in which case all fees will be split evenly by you and the complainant."
     
  19. Alien

    Alien Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't bother, let them take it (unless you really care about the domain), life's way too short and expensive already. :)
     
  20. spobin

    spobin Member

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    Yeah, I'd quite like to just move on. Hopefully this thread will serve as a warning to others.

    Thank you to everyone that gave advice. I think I'm going to leave it and accept whatever judgement ICANN delivers. It's likely that I'll lose this domain but come away with a healthy dose of caution :) I'll post updates if anything interesting happens.
     
  21. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    I would reach out and find out how you can give them the domain name without the UDRP completing, as otherwise there will be a permanent and public record that they beat you in a UDRP case (probably with some juicy "he's a cybersquatter and didn't even bother to defend himself" wording from the expert) and that can come back to haunt you in future if you get into other disputes, as the Complainant can use your UDRP loss to try and establish a "pattern" of bad behaviour.
     
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