Not A Bright Idea

Steve Levy ⬥ 27 January

In 2003, a predecessor of the Just Bulbs lighting company filed and lost a UDRP case against the domain <> because the respondent agreed to only advertise flower bulbs at the website and so had a legitimate interest in the domain.

Fast-forward to 2013 and the website at this domain now shows sketchy pay-per-click ads for light bulbs and thus competes with JUST BULBS brand. Also, it turns out that the Respondent has now lost over 140 prior UDRP decisions and is an admitted cybersquatter.

Normally, after a losing decision, a brand owner can’t re-file a UDRP complaint against the same domain unless there are some new facts that have come to light that weren’t available at the time of the first complaint or there was serious misconduct such as falsified evidence.  Here, Just Bulbs claimed that “relevant new actions have occurred since the original decision” in 2003 – namely, that the website now advertises light bulbs, not flower bulbs.

However, the Panelist found that despite this change to the present-day use of the domain this new complaint provided no additional or new evidence of the domain owner’s intent when it first registered the domain (remember that the UDRP requires one to prove bad faith use of the domain and bad faith registration at the time the owner acquired the domain). Since the present case didn’t shed any new light on the owner’s intent at the time the domain was acquired, Just Bulbs had its hopes dimmed for a second time.

The Panelist did leave a sliver of light for Just Bulbs, though. He pointed out that the domain is currently being used in bad faith and hinted that this might be enough to support a claim in court – perhaps under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). Hopefully this will illuminate a path for Just Bulbs to knock the domain owner’s lights out after all.

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