Affirm, Inc. lose their attempt to hijack Affirm.com.au

Back in April, I wrote this article that outlined how Affirm Inc. (US company since 2012 with 1200 employees and generate over $600 million in annual revenue), decided that they deserved the highly generic Australian domain name Affirm.com.au for themselves, FOR NO COMPENSATION, instead of the existing owner, who had legitimately owned it for 15 years.

My domain brokerage firm DBR.com.au has been managing and representing the domain name for the last few years.

DLA Piper (Affirm Inc‘s law firm in this case) sent through a low-ball offer to purchase the domain and a letter threatening to effectively have the domain name confiscated from my client, if they didn’t accept to low-ball offer.

I publicly stated in my previous article that I phoned DLA Piper at the time and told them, “If you file an auDRP, you will lose and waste your client’s money!”

Affirm Inc. and DLA Piper chose to go ahead and file an auDRP with WIPO.

I defended the auDRP on behalf of my client.

Today, I’m happy to report that my client’s domain name is safe.

Today, I received an email from WIPO stating;

The Administrative Panel’s finding is as follows;

“the Complaint is denied and the Panel makes a finding of reverse domain name hijacking against the Complainant“. 

14 thoughts on “Affirm, Inc. lose their attempt to hijack Affirm.com.au

  • June 11, 2021 at 1:53 pm
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    Kudos for affirming your position Rob!

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  • June 11, 2021 at 4:04 pm
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    Congrats to you and your client Rob, these thieving aholes need to be put in their place!

    Unfortunately there is no financial penalty to the company or the law firm representing them.

    That needs to change to help deter false claims like these ones in the future for other domain owners.

    Regardless, bloody well done! 👍👏👏👏👏😎

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    • June 12, 2021 at 10:12 am
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      Thanks Ed, it was obviously a walk in the park to defend this for my client.

      Although there’s no financial penalty (yet!) for Complainants who waste Respondents time and money, at least there is the verdict of whether the Complainant is a Reverse Domain Name Hijacker.

      In this case, the honourable WIPO Panelists stated;

      “It appears to the Panel that these proceedings were only brought when the Complainant’s management decided a couple of years after obtaining Australian trade mark registrations that it required the disputed domain name for its business launch in Australia and as a result the Complainant set out to harass the Respondent and to procure the disputed domain name, by fair means or foul. In doing so, in circumstances that the Complaint could never succeed, the Complainant has abused the Policy and wasted its own and the Respondent’s resources. This conduct clearly amounts to reverse domain name hijacking and the Panel has no hesitation in finding as such.”

      Affirm Inc. are now internationally known as Reverse Domain Name Hijackers, which ICANN defines as meaning, “Using the auDRP in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain-name holder of a domain name.”

      It was also refreshing to read that the honourable WIPO Panelists effectively stated there’s nothing wrong with being a domain investor with a large portfolio when they stated;

      “The Complainant’s case under this element of the Policy appears to be based mainly upon the Respondent having registered the disputed domain name as part of a large portfolio of domain names and that the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name for a particular business activity and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. However, there is nothing wrong per se in a domain name investor registering a commonly used word as a domain name and holding it provided that the circumstances do not indicate illegitimate conduct or bad faith. “

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  • June 11, 2021 at 4:38 pm
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    Well done Rob and good on you for exposing this.

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    • June 11, 2021 at 9:09 pm
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      Would definitely blame the law firm for this. Did they bill the client for this mess? Perhaps the lawyer involved can be interviewed as to what they were thinking filing this?

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  • June 14, 2021 at 5:53 am
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    It’s just hilarious.

    DLA Piper in running this have now given the world reason to infer it does not know much about domain name law or lacks expertise. This begs the question, in what other fields does the firm lack expertise?

    Instead of buying the domain for $100,000 or $120,000 as might’ve been possible had the right path been taken, Affirm Inc will now need to pay $200,000 to $300,000 to acquire this domain name in my opinion.

    It’s not about the money. Affirm inc could’ve bought the domain for $300,000 to begin with in my view.

    The problem for this corporate is that time is slipping away and every month that passes without the domain is ultimately costing the business tens of thousands of dollars.

    Sincerely hope that the owner of Affirm.com.au makes an example of this grubby behaviour and refuses to sell the domain for less than $250,000.

    Should the domain sell in the future please make it public.

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  • June 14, 2021 at 9:14 pm
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    Hopefully these Complainant Reverse Domain Name Hijacking Grubs will be added here for extra exposure of their abuse of process and harassment of the legitimate Registrant who won.

    DLA Piper has egg on it’s face globally from this mess their lawyers created and proffited from.

    Disgraceful and Unethical for AFFIRM Inc USA and their DLA Piper lawyers.
    http://www.RDNH.com
    http://www.HallOfShame.com

    $500,000 sell price now or tell them to get lost and build it into a competitor.

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  • June 15, 2021 at 7:03 am
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    What a way to enter the Australian market, to sully one’s reputation straight off the bat.

    Is it worth it DLA Piper? Is it worth it Affirm Inc?

    This is how most corporations go about things:

    Woolworths in 2011 bought Masters.com.au in “one of Australia’s largest domain name acquisitions.

    https://www.coopermills.com.au/what-we-do/domain-names-law/domain-name-sales/

    by paying “a fair price for the domain and was very friendly in its handling of the process, even helping Masters Medical set up its website at its new home”

    https://www.applianceretailer.com.au/mfmjyfyobe/#.YMffTeQmK_Y

    Woolworths Annual Report 2011 page 117 shows intangible asset additions of $5.4 million, it seems this included the domain name too.

    https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/icms_docs/183558_Annual_Report_2011.pdf

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  • June 15, 2021 at 1:08 pm
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    I can just imagine the conversation – those Aussies wouldn’t have any idea about the value of a domain name or how to deal with a WIPO complaint and we can get this for nothing. How wrong they were!

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    • June 15, 2021 at 1:41 pm
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      Even if the US company thought that, surely their Australian lawyers should have been educated enough to realise trying to steal the domain name would be fruitless?

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  • June 15, 2021 at 1:53 pm
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    The funniest bit is that without Affirm.com.au the business will be a dead duck in Australia.

    Now they have to pay the Piper.

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  • June 19, 2021 at 3:34 pm
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    Trying to decide if I watch The Muppets or read this auDRP for the lols tonight

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