Affirm Inc. is like a new version of AfterPay – where you “buy now and pay later“. They were founded in San Francisco in 2012.
They registered their trademark in Australia in January 2018 as “Affirm”. That was six years after starting in America.
There are currently 20 active trademarks in Australia taken out for the word “Affirm” according to IP Australia, yet Affirm Inc. only own 5 of these, and as stated above, they’re very recent.
There are also over 30 Australian businesses in Australia who have been operating under the term “Affirm” for decades.
Meanwhile, the current owners of the Australian domain name Affirm.com.au legitimately registered their domain name back in 2006 and have continued to pay the renewal fees for nearly 15 years. They have turned down multiple offers to sell the domain over the years.
Yet, Affirm Inc., who employ 1200 employees and are estimated to have generated over $600 million in revenue in 2019, have just decided that they deserve this highly generic Australian domain name instead, for themselves, FOR NO COMPENSATION to the existing owner.
Affirm Inc. recently engaged law firm DLA Piper, most notably Robynne Sanders and Adnan Meher, to file an auDRP in an attempt to try to rip the domain name away from the current owners, with no payment or compensation.
I’ve got news for these would-be bullies…
NO – you can’t just take away our generic Australian domain names for yourselves for free!
On March 17 2021, DBR received this demand notice from DLA Piper;
It was emailed from Adnan Meher from DLA Piper.
I immediately phoned Adnan and frankly said to him, “please inform your client that this is not the right way to go about acquiring a generic domain name that’s been owned legitimately for over a decade, offering a measly $20k to accept transfer or threatening to take it from my clients for no compensation,” or words similar to that effect. When he didn’t agree that he was going about the acquisition in the wrong way, I dared him to file an auDRP and I said, “If you file an auDRP, you will lose and waste your client’s money!”
I then followed that up on the same day with the following email;
That about gets you up to speed with what’s going on with this current auDRP being made against the highly generic Affirm.com.au domain name, but there’s more news to come about this over the following months…
What’s most concerning though, is that I informed Adnan Meher and DLA Piper on the phone and in writing, that it would be pointless filing an auDRP and that THEY WOULD LOSE, yet they still went ahead and filed the auDRP?
How is it fair, for DLA Piper to charge their client a bunch of money, pretty much knowing that they’re probably going to lose the complaint? Did Adnan Meher and DLA Piper correctly advise their clients (Affirm, Inc.) of the projected outcome before filing the auDRP and racking up their billable hours?
I wonder if Max Levchin (co-Founder of Paypal and current CEO of Affirm Inc.) is even aware that his Australian lawyers are effectively trying to rip away the Australian Affirm.com.au domain name from the current owners who have owned it for more than a decade before Affirm, Inc. was even founded in America?
It seems only fair to reach out to Mr Levchin and let him know what’s going on… So I will.
In the meantime, check out how many businesses in Australia have been operating under the generic term “Affirm” for decades…