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Vertex Pharmaceuticals found guilty of attempted reverse domain name hijacking

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reviewed a complaint against the Vertex.Medical.com domain under its Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The cyber-squatting complaint was filed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, an industry leader and a NASDAQ 100 company. Its market capitalization is estimated at $58 billion. The respondent was a Pakistani firm called Vertex Medical, which has some 100 employees and posts about $6 million in annual revenue.

Although this looks like a classic battle between David and Goliath, small companies are often able to defend their rights while confronting big, strong rivals in domain disputes. The latest case is no exception either. Andrew Lotian, a WIPO panelist, did not find that the Vertex Medical domain had been registered or used for unlawful purposes to the detriment of Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ interests. He determined that the domain hosts a Vertex Medical website that operates in good faith, does not violate any laws and has nothing to do with Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

While noting a possible conflict of interests due to coinciding names, Lotian sided with the respondent and said the Latin word Vertex denoted the top of the head. Consequently, medical businesses often use this word, which cannot be seen as any company’s exclusive property. The WIPO panelist ruled in favor of the Pakistani firm and found Vertex Pharmaceuticals guilty of reverse domain name hijacking. While reporting this news, the Domain Name Wire noted that Vertex Pharmaceuticals lawyers were well-versed in domain name disputes. Earlier, the company filed seven UDRP complaints and won all its cases. This time, however, something went completely wrong.

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