The City of Parramatta Council (“The Council”) was last week officially found “guilty” of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking with regards the domain name Parramatta.com.au. For those that may not know what that means, in simple terms, they filed a dispute / complaint against the long standing registrant of this valuable premium domain name in order to try and have it transferred to them for free! And they lost spectacularly.
Some Key Points
- Parramatta.com.au was first registered by Publishing Australia Pty Ltd (the Respondent to the complaint) on 21 October 2007. Yep, nearly 14 years ago.
- The Council used Anisimoff Legal which has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and the NSW Central Coast. The actual person who handled the dispute / complaint is a Trademark Attorney based in Melbourne.
- I wonder what the legal bill for Parramatta ratepayers is going to be? And who made the decision within The Council to embark on this costly and futile process?
- The following excerpt from the ruling cracked me up. If Anisimoff Legal had done their research properly, they would have known that there have been new owners of Netfleet since the middle of last year!
The Complainant “understands that the Respondent operates the Netfleet website which is a platform for selling domain names as an inflated price”.
- According to the finding, Publishing Australia “never solicited a sale of the Disputed Domain Name to anyone including the Complainant”.
To see how dead in the water this dispute / complaint was, let me highlight two excerpts by Mr Argy:
“the Complaint includes baseless allegations and submissions not grounded in the evidence put before the Panel.”
It is the Panel’s considered view that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes Reverse Domain Name Hijacking within the meaning of paragraphs 1 and15(e) of the Rules.
What a waste of money by The Council (and it’s unknowing ratepayers). Why didn’t they just try and negotiate a deal? If they are still intent on acquiring this domain, I imagine any price tag may have just gone up!
As for Publishing Australia, they have had to spend time and money defending this spurious claim, and they get nothing out of it. In Australia, there are no financial penalties to a RDNH finding. Perhaps there should be.