BNPL company Affirm attempts reverse domain hijacking


Affirm filed a cybersquatting dispute against affirm.com.au after failing to negotiate a purchase.

Publicly traded company Affirm, Inc. (NASDAQ: AFRM) tried to reverse domain name hijacking affirm.com.au, a World Intellectual Property Organization panel has ruled.

Affirm, founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is a so-called Buy Now Pay Later company. It has a market cap of $18 billion and uses the domain name affirm.com.

The company tried to buy affirm.com.au for as much as $20,000 before filing the cybersquatting dispute.

The .au Dispute Resolution Policy requires a domain to be registered or used in bad faith to run afoul of the policy. Internet Products Sales & Services Pty Ltd registered the domain name in 2006, six years before Affirm was incorporated. This means the domain wasn’t registered in bad faith. The panel also found that the domain wasn’t used in bad faith.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, the three-person panel wrote:

The Complainant, a publicly listed United States corporation advised by reputed international legal advisors, should have known better than to bring the Complaint in the circumstances. It appears to the Panel that these proceedings were only brought when the Complainant’s management decided a couple of years after obtaining Australian trade mark registrations that it required the disputed domain name for its business launch in Australia and as a result the Complainant set out to harass the Respondent and to procure the disputed domain name, by fair means or foul. In doing so, in circumstances that the Complaint could never succeed, the Complainant has abused the Policy and wasted its own and the Respondent’s resources. This conduct clearly amounts to reverse domain name hijacking and the Panel has no hesitation in finding as such.

DLA Piper represented Affirm, Inc.

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