I wrote about a “massive golf company” threatening to take my domain name OGIO.com.au from me back in November 2018.

I can now confirm that company was Callaway Golf, who’s revenue is over $1.2 Billion per year.

In that article, I outlined exactly how Callaway Golf South Pacific Pty Ltd‘s marketing manager Michael Gawne threatened me into handing my domain name over to him for a ridiculously low price and then attempted to dictate terms after a basic agreement was made.

As my article stated, although I considered selling my domain name to him to save myself a lot of drama (in hindsight -oh how right I was!) I quickly reached a point of refusing to be bullied into selling it.

Instead of respecting my decision to keep my own domain name, Callaway Golf continued to make numerous complaints to auDA and IP Australia over the following six months, stating they owned a “luggage brand” called OGIO and the domain name should be swiftly handed over to them.

I was able to successfully defend my domain name on the first auDA complaint.

On researching who and why this company was continually trying to take my domain name, I found that Callaway Golf didn’t even own the OGIO “luggage” brand until recently. Callaway Golf purchased the OGIO business for around $108 MILLION AUD in early 2017.

Callaway Golf didn’t stop complaining about my domain name and auDA eventually gave in to their pressure and placed it into the dreaded Policy Delete status.

At that point, I registered a new company called OGIO PTY LTD and BOUGHT MY OWN DOMAIN NAME BACK from the drop platforms.

Callaway Golf made further complaints to auDA, who rightfully told them there was nothing more they could do.

Callaway Golf then decided to turn up the heat.

They engaged Sally Foreman and Nick Holmes from law firm Davies Collison Cave to contact me in a further attempt to swipe my domain name for themselves. Nick Holmes cold-called me and explained he was being engaged “directly by Callaway Golf in America” and he didn’t want to “mess around“. He wanted to deliver the “highest price possible“. He insisted he wasn’t interested in creating any “further legal drama” (words to that effect).

Sally and Nick then sent me emails labeled “Without Prejudice“. So, I responded quite openly to them. I was careful to also place “Without Prejudice” in my responses, trusting their word that they were willing to make it worth my while to sell my domain name.

I never stated the domain name was for sale, never named a price, never initiated contact, yet the very small amount of money they offered me makes me think they were merely attempting to set me up for “bad faith”.

To be clear, in my opinion, I believe they were fishing for information to trap me, with the intent of taking my domain from me for free.

Once I declined their dismal offer, it appears Davies Collison Cave were fired by Callaway Golf.

Next up, Khajaque Kortian from Spruson and Ferguson was hired to take me on.

You can imagine the tens of thousands of dollars being spent up until this point by Callaway Golf, all in an attempt to have my four-letter acronym ripped away from me.

Mr Kortian from Spruson and Ferguson didn’t bother contacting me. He simply chose to lodge a formal auDRP WIPO Complaint. In the complaint he attacked me personally, often.

What’s most interesting is that Mr Kortian included all the “Without Prejudice” discussion I had assumed would be “off the record” and would “not be taken as an agreement” from my alleged private discussions with Sally Forman and Nick Holmes from Davies Collison Cave.

In the end, none of that content, and none of their tricks seemed to help them win the dispute process. However, it sure rattled me enough to NEVER TRUST A LAWYER who you aren’t paying to be on your side.

The OGIO.com.au auDRP Complaint verdict took a lot of time and work to defend.

On reading WIPO Panelist Warwick Rothnie‘s final thoughts and frustration at believing I had registered the OGIO.com.au domain name BEFORE registering my business name, I knew I had made a silly mistake. I forgot to include in the defence documentation that my Organic IT Services business registration had lapsed momentarily. This meant the “create date” of my Organic IT Services business wrongly looked like it had been created in 2018, when in fact I have an ASIC Record of Registration for Organic IT Services that dates back to December 2013.

On a side note, this is a big reason why I believe in using professional services to stay up-to-date and informed about the status and renewal dates of your business digital assets; including your domain names, business names, trademarks, etc…

Any way you look at it, I should never have lost my domain name and I’m glad I defended it at all costs.

Thankfully justice prevailed and I must send my sincere thanks to The Hon Neil Brown QC, Alan Limbury and Warwick Rothnie as auDRP WIPO Panelists for taking the time to confirm and conclude…

OGIO.com.au COMPLAINT DENIED!

You can read the complaint in full HERE, but be sure you have a spare half-hour!

The folks over at DomainGang.com have made their own summary of what occurred: Ballsy Aussie Keeps Domain After UDRP Fails.

12 thoughts on “OGIO.com.au auDRP Complaint DENIED

  • Avatar
    June 23, 2019 at 10:54 pm
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    Disgusting RDNH.COM

    https://www.coopermills.com.au/reverse-domain-name-hijacking/
    https://dnj.com.au/domain-name-hijacking-takes-a-new-approach/
    https://dnj.com.au/hall-of-shame/

    Good job for exposing these scumbags from the company and their lawyers listed in the story above.

    Never will I buy any Calloway crap.

    Spruson and Ferguson seem to be more than happy to take the money to run these RDNH complaints without any merit and they are losing most of them! Sucked in you bullies!

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2019 at 9:18 am
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    Congrats Rob

    Let it be a lesson to all:

    Domainers are not economically rational

    They will mess you up if you try and reverse-hijack their intellectual property

    And they will do it just for fun

    So if you want something, pay for it

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2019 at 10:06 am
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    Well done Robert for taking on a billion dollar bully and winning.

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2019 at 10:12 am
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    Hat tip to you for your tenacity Robert. I did not think you had a “snowball’s chance in hell”, but you proved me (and many others) wrong.

    This is a fantastic precedent for all domain investors – particularly those with acronym domains.

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    • Avatar
      June 24, 2019 at 8:24 pm
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      Thanks Ned.

      From the outside, I’m sure it looked like I was up against a giant and my situation was very complicated. It was. But I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped-like-hell justice would prevail.

      Personally, I’m still shocked that trademark and IP lawyers take mountains of money to attack generic and acronym domain name owners, lose the complaint, then keep all the money and move on to the next domain complaint.

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2019 at 3:59 pm
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    I still can’t believe that “auDA eventually gave in to their pressure and placed it into the dreaded Policy Delete status”. What was their justification?

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    • Avatar
      June 24, 2019 at 8:40 pm
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      It was a long detailed reply from auDA. I didn’t agree with it, but the new complaints manager at the time had been there only a few months and ended up going on leave during that time too. Got very messy.

      As my domain was being forced to drop, the Callaway lawyers (or perhaps Callaway themselves?) took out a $200 Netfleet “backorder”… So I had a slim chance of winning my own domain name back. I have to thank Drop.com.au for catching the domain for me as the highest bidder.

      I don’t think the Netfleet “backorder” system is fair. I’ve never used it and have never won a domain name from it. I really think Netfleet need to get rid of it.

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2019 at 8:49 pm
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    This has got to be the best part of the WIPO Decision;

    “the parties, by their conduct, had agreed that the drop process would determine the outcome of the entitlement to the new domain name and that they were both seeking to avoid the intricacies of further disputation.

    The consequence of the “drop” process

    The consequence of the whole process was that the new domain name would be available to either party and indeed to other parties who wanted to bid for it.

    That is what has happened and the Respondent has acquired the disputed domain name under the very process that auDA set in motion at the instigation of the Complainant and, as things stand at the moment, not in breach of any auDA rules.

    The majority of the Panel is therefore unable to agree with the conclusion of the Complainant.”

    Game-changing precedent.

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2019 at 8:56 pm
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    haha what about this part though…

    “The majority … cannot agree with the submission of the Complainant that, as the disputed domain name was registered in the name of the present Respondent, “the Respondent cannot create legitimate interests in the [Disputed Domain Name] where no such interests existed at the time the Disputed Domain Name was registered”

    If that submission relates to the disputed domain name in this proceeding, it is, with respect, wrong.”

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2019 at 9:05 pm
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    All I see is $10k (in defensive reg & time) flushed on a name worth $10

    Who’s the winner here?

  • Scott
    June 25, 2019 at 1:13 pm
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    Congrats Robert, your persistence certainly gave them all a headache.

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  • Avatar
    June 26, 2019 at 12:16 pm
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    Well done Rob! What a fantastic result

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