Domain Name Investor Rick Schwartz Wins UDRP Case Over Queen.com

Domain Name Investor Rick Schwartz Wins UDRP Case Over Queen.com
Rhett Pardon

AMSTERDAM — A three-judge arbitration panel at WIPO determined this week that a Denmark flower company attempted to hijack a domain — Queen.com — that had been used to redirect to various adult entertainment sites.

Queen Flowers, which uses the domain name Queen.dk in Denmark for its retail floral business, filed a UDRP complaint against domain name entrepreneur Rick Schwartz, who has leased Queen.com to adult companies in the past, most recently to one of the web’s largest adult cam sites. (Currently, Queen.com redirects to Schwartz's Twitter page.)

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, or UDRP, is a process established by the ICANN for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of internet domain names. 

Queen Flowers, alleging in its complaint that the Queen.com domain name is identical and confusingly similar to its trademarks, sought to have the name transferred to its company.

The retailer noted that the Queen.com site doesn’t host content but rather redirects to a site with explicit adult material, and therefore “Queen” has no meaning in relation to the domain holder’s business.

Schwartz, who owns more than 10,000 domains, requested for the WIPO panel to make a finding of reverse domain name hijacking, as the complainant “mischaracterized its trademark rights as conferring some sort of exclusivity over a generic term.”

Schwartz also said the flower retailer filed the complaint seeking a transfer only after it reached out to the domain entrepreneur in 2015 about buying the domain name.

According to the decision, Queen Flowers officials were unhappy with Schwartz’s offer of $2 million or $15,000 per month. Queen Flowers responded to his offer by writing, “Are you kidding me?”

In its ruling this week, WIPO said that Queen Flowers’ case against Schwartz was a “classic Plan B” case, “where a party, having been frustrated in its negotiations to buy a domain name, resorts to the ultimate option of a highly contrived and artificial claim not supported by any evidence or the plain wording of the UDRP.”

The panel, deciding that Queen Flowers was “guilty” of reverse domain name hijacking and refusing to order a transfer of the domain name, said the company “failed by a large margin” in the case.

“[T]he complainant knew or at least should have known that it could not prove one of the essential UDRP elements,” the panel wrote. “The disputed domain name comprises a single dictionary word. The complainant has provided no evidence whatsoever which indicates that the respondent was likely to have registered the disputed domain name to target the complainant’s Danish flower business rather than in connection with one of the disputed domain name’s common meanings.”

The decision is available here.