New Jersey-based Coffee Bean Direct LLC, an online seller of green and roasted coffees, yesterday lost a second domain name dispute case (a.k.a. a UDRP) to CoffeeDirect.com, which sold coffees online from the 1990s to 2006.
Coffee Bean Direct, which says it now roasts more than 1 million pounds of coffee after years of continuous growth since its founding in 2004, has recently been using the Coffee Direct name on its website, packaging and marketing materials, but the company has been unable to secure the coffeedirect.com domain, which currently leads to a broken link.
In its second UDRP complaint in the past three years, president Andrew Esserman and other representatives of Coffee Bean Direct outline unsuccessful attempts to negotiate for the sale of the domain name directly with directcoffee.com owner Claude Pope, and they suggest Pope has acted in bad faith by continuing to re-register the domain, despite his admissions that he was no longer in the coffee business. Pope has also listed the domain as for sale, the complainants said.
This, of course, is bad for business, especially when your business is online coffee sales that rely on SEO. From the Coffee Bean Direct complaint:
The Respondent is still actively disrupting Complainant’s business by continuing to cause its long inactive COFFEEDIRECT.COM website to resolve to a “broken link”. The broken link disrupts consumer online purchasing of Complainant’s products—the very heart of its business. A consumer viewing the Complainant’s actual products bearing the “Coffee Direct” trademarks or Complainant’s active pages with Coffee Direct as the identifier for its Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest social media sites cannot order products from Complainant by keystroking COFFEEDIRECT.COM in a web browser or search engine on the Web. In contrast, a consumer easily finds the Complainant when searching social media sites where the Complainant has active pages with Coffee Direct as the identifier.
It’s worth noting that Pope, the respondent in the claim, made no formal response, yet still managed to win the case, as decided by a Czech arbitration panel. How? Andrew Allemann, editor of Domain Name Wire, an online news source for lawyers and others dealing in the domain industry, provides a lengthy (and somewhat technical) explanation of how the case went down.
Allemann also poses an important question in this case: “Hmm. Why would you hold on to a valuable domain you used to use for your business rather than let it expire? Maybe because it’s valuable.”