In a recent and notable ruling, a panelist from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) found that Australian online gambling operator VGW Holdings Limited sought to steal domain names. This claim was made at the same time that VGW Holdings complained to the Republic of Korea-based individual who owns vgw.com.
VGW Holdings and Its Brand Identity
Since 2010, VGW Holdings Limited has been a significant player in the online gaming sector, running the website vgw.co. The business has offered online casino-style gaming services under a number of names, including Chumba Casino, Global Poker, and Luckyland Slots. Notably, VGW Holdings has spent money to register the VGW mark as a trademark in a number of nations, displaying its dedication to protecting its brand identification.
The Crucial Timeline Difference
However, Hyundoo Shin, a resident of the Republic of Korea and domain owner, was given a favorable decision by WIPO panelist Kathryn Lee. Long before VGW Holdings Limited ever existed, Mr. Shin registered the domain name vgw.com in 2002. This time differential turned out to be a crucial element affecting the panelists’ choice.
Lee emphasized that it would have been improbable for Mr. Shin to have registered the contested domain name with any purpose of going after VGW Holdings Limited or its brand as it was registered before VGW Holdings was founded and acquired trademark rights.
Condemnation of Attempted Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
In a significant statement, Panelist Lee emphasized the apparent nature of the case: “The Complainant should surely have known that the Complaint could not succeed based on these facts, and proceeding with this Complaint can only be viewed as an attempt to deprive a registered domain-name holder of a domain name.”
This critical observation led the panelist to conclude that the complaint filed by VGW Holdings Limited was not only brought in bad faith but also constituted an attempt at reverse domain name hijacking. Such actions are deemed an abuse of the administrative proceeding according to WIPO guidelines.
This landmark decision highlights the importance of thorough research and respect for established timelines in the domain name dispute resolution process. It also serves as a reminder of the consequences that may befall those who engage in reverse domain name hijacking.
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