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Comments on Richard Hill

  • To: comments-igo-ingo-crp-access-initial-20jan17@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Comments on Richard Hill
  • From: "email@xxxxxxx" <email@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:19:13 -0400

The comments of Richard Hill should be reviewed with the understanding that he is a paid arbitrator and is seen as an "insider" as far as the intellectual property agenda. In the matter of the issues discussed here the rights of the NGO to protect their intellectual property is important and so are the rights of legitimate domain owners. Allowing biased commenters to "run the show" leads to distrust among the interested parties.

As an example of what I mean I can relate my personal situation of <directorschoice.com> and Richard Hill.

Back in 2000, some 17 years ago, I registered <directorschoice.com> and <dinerschoice.com>. From 2002 to 2014 (that's 12 years, no typo!) a company asked to buy the domain from me without ever mentioning trademark claims. In 2014 they filed a trademark *application* claiming rights back to 1997 and filed a UDRP. The panelists were Richard Hill, Scott Austin, and Bruce Meyerson. I had complained that the Complainant was allowed to make late submission relating to the choice of the panel. The matter was turned over to the panel themselves even though their payment depended on that decision.

in the complaint The complainant did not mention ANY of the attempts to buy the domain over 12 years and the specimens provided claiming rights to 1997 were highly questionable. There was no evidence that I knew about the company in 2000 when I registered the domain.

The company also submitted 2 sets of specimens. The first set of specimens claimed the web site ran Google ads unrelated to the claimed trademark. the complainant was then allowed to submit an "additional submission" with a second set of ads that ran completely different Google ads. I guess nobody on the panel knows how the Google keyword ads work? I can make any kind of ad appear on a web site running Google ads by manipulating their keyword system. Of course those ads are shown as a result of a contractual relationship that indemnifies sites running the ads.

the final decision is at

In almost every other UDRP case the fact that the Complaint left out attempts to buy the domain was found to be fatal. for example:


"That alone would have justified a finding of abuse of process, but to cap it all the Complainant made no mention whatever of its numerous failed attempts to acquire the Disputed Domain Name through a domain name broker for substantial sums of money. This was a line of email correspondence in which the Complainant ultimately expressed itself "happy" that the Disputed Domain Name should be sold to a third party for a sum in excess of the substantial sums that the Complainant had been offering. In none of that correspondence did the Complainant assert that it had rights to the Disputed Domain Name.

That undisclosed email correspondence, brought to the Panel's attention by the Respondent, demonstrates that the Complainant's interest in acquiring the Disputed Domain Name only arose following its acquisition of its registered trade mark rights and that it appreciated that in order to acquire the Disputed Domain Name from the owner it would necessarily have to pay a substantial sum. The Complainant knew that correspondence was fatal to its case and the Panel can only conclude that its failure to disclose it was an attempt to deceive the Panel."

Even though essentially the same thing happened in my case the Richard hill found that the 12 years of them buying the domain put me "on notice" of their *Trade name* (not trademark).

Since there was no evidence I knew about this company when the domain was registered (that is required to order a domain transfer under the UDRP) Richard Hill made this novel finding:

"Respondent and Complainant are both based in the United States and as such Respondent was aware of Complainant’s use of its common law Marks at least 3 years prior to Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name."

i filed a lawsuit ovew this and the matter has been in federal court for over 2 years. The pleadings in a UDRP are not normally public so the arbitrators can say (or leave out) anything they want. In this case all the documents are now public on the docket at:


I also just found out Richard Hill is not even an attorney yet he is adjudicating cases and approving findings like this. I cannot file an attorney ethics complaint against him for deciding himself that he could hear the case and receive payment. He is also based in Switzerland so it would be difficult to sue him. He can abuse the system any way he wants and there is little or no recourse.

Not long after this decision Richard Hill apparently got one of the other panel members, Scott Austin, added to the ICANN Public Interest Commitment Dispute Resolution Procedure (PICDRP). See:


This gives the appearance of a "good old boy" network tilted against domain owners and gives a lack credibility to the whole system.

All parties need protection and any approach needs to balance the rights of all parties and push abusers out of the system.

More on the lawsuits against the national Arbitration Forum are at:

Thank You

Russ Smith

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