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WIPO ruling a victory for commonsense

One that slipped through the Net

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It's fairly rare, but WIPO has made a decision regarding www.yourmove.com that we (and normal people everywhere) agree with. It decided that Scottish businessman Irving Remocker is fully entitled to the domain name and can do with it what he wishes.

The case against was brought by insurance giant CGU that claimed Mr Remocker was infringing its copyright and had registered the domain in bad faith. CGU has an insurance product called "Your move" and had spent a load of money advertising it and getting hold of other domains featuring the words.

In WIPO's world, CGU had a good case. It had a product called the same as the domain name, Mr Remocker wasn't famous or a huge conglomerate and he had offered to sell it to CGU (and others) for £500,000. Plus, he had registered some other domain names! This is normally enough for the organisation to scream "cybersquatter" and hand it over.

However, Mr Remocker wasn't going down without a fight and made his case. He bought the domain off Caissa International Corporation with the intention of turning it into a chess site. He didn't do it in the end because of other business commitments but that was clearly what he planned to do. How do we know? Because he had a business plan drawn up to develop the site (£160,000 worth of investment) and he had liaised with chess grandmaster Gabriel Schwartzman over the deal. All this happened before CGU even got involved.

On top of this, Irving points out that CGU didn't have a problem with the site before he (rather than a big organisation) got control of it. Plus, the words "your" and "move" are pretty damn generic, so who does CGU think it is? And this trademark of CGU's - well, it has been filed but hasn't actually got through the system yet. Plus the filing was done after he had bought the domain anyway.

As for the offer to sell - which is a real no-no with WIPO - well, CGU offered Mr Remocker £30,000, which he turned down. Quite right too, it's worth a lot more than that. He said he wanted six figures and ventured £500,000. This was turned down. He then advertised the domain for sale and got a fair few interested parties.

In fact, Mr Remocker was so annoyed with CGU's stance that he asked the three-person WIPO panel to review whether this was a blatant attempt at reverse domain name hijacking.

Of course, the panel didn't have a leg to stand on. Mr Remocker clearly hadn't registered it in bad faith and CGU had no right just to take it off him. And so it ruled against CGU.

However, this is a case of "but for the grace of God". We now know what you have to achieve to persuade WIPO that a corporation's wants aren't more important than any individual's. You have to deal with the entire transaction before the corporation even thinks about going to WIPO, and you have to have had a business plan ready. Oh, and bringing along a chess grandmaster can't hurt either. Sounds fair to us.

The annoying thing is that this case doesn't set any precedents. WIPO sidestepped the issue of trademark and copyright. It said it didn't have to decide on whether the fact that CGU had filed for a trademark that it should have retrospective rights on everything with that trademark in. That was because Mr Remocker didn't fulfil the other criteria it decides upon before handing the domain over.

Also, while many would see this as a clear of reverse hijacking, WIPO decided it wasn't because "while the Complainant may have been ill-advised to have acted as it has done, it would seem that the Complainant genuinely believed that its rights in the name YOUR MOVE in relation to its estate agency business were being threatened". So, because CGU "genuinely believed" that it needed the domain, it isn't guilty. Bollocks. There doesn't seem to be a case of a defendant, sorry, respondent, genuinely believing that he wasn't treading on any corporate toes. Makes you wonder what a company has to do to be found guilty of hijacking.

Anyway, since we flagged up WIPO disgraceful judgements, it's only right that we do the same to the ones that it gets right (no matter how it gets there).

Mr Remocker said: "I am delighted to be vindicated by the WIPO panel but sorry that it has delayed the sale of yourmove.com. This is a typical example of a large company trying to use strong-arm tactics to force an asset out of the hands of an individual. Many others might not have stood up for their rights against such a formidable opponent but I am pleased to have done this and won." ®

Related Link

WIPO's decision on the case

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