domain name · online brand protection

Domains: How to lose $175,000


A cashed up, and not overly careful cybersquatter,  recently wasted $175,000 purchasing the domain name halifax.com which they subsequently lost through the Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure (UDRP) to the company they tried to unsuccessfully flip it to, the Bank of Scotland.

Halifax is a British bank operating as a trading division of Bank of Scotland (BoS).

According to Domain Name Wire,  Diversity Network acquired Halifax.com in September 2015 for $175,000 and then proceeded to make a series of attempts to get BoS (who operates a financial services company called Halifax) to buy the domain name.

Just days after completing the acquisition of the domain name, Diversity Network registered the domain names halifaxcarfinance.com and halifaxliving.org.  The first of these names squarely aimed at the complainant, the Bank of Scotland.

According to the complaint Diversity Network then reached out to Bank of Scotland offering Halifax.com for sale. It said it was preparing to use the domain names, and that it was receiving lots of emails about problems with logins to the Complainant’s service and added that this must be a security concern for the bank.

The domain name was eventually awarded to the Bank of Scotland who are now actively using it.

This case offers a good lesson for brand owners that they do not always need to hand over large sums of money to strangers when it comes to domain names and their intellectual property.

Where a brand owner can prove bad faith (Diversity Network clearly registered the domain name to sell it to BoS) the DRP can provide a cost effective remedy to acquire cybersquatted domain names.  The cost to submit a complaint ranges between $2000 to $4500 depending on the number of panelists as well as any complaint development costs if you choose to use an outside counsel.

Cybersquatters dance a fine line when it comes to their trade and in this case they seem to have gone to far in their persuit to make a quick buck.

Win for team Brand!

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