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.