UDRP: googlecoronavirus.com, transferred 20 days after registration
Among the countless domain names registered since the beginning of the health crisis and including the terms “COVID,” “COVID-19” or “Coronavirus,” <googlecoronavirus.com> is the first to have been the subject of a published extra-judicial decision (NAF, FA2003001888606, Google LLC v. Ben Ghosh , April 3, 2020).
On March 22, 2020, a U.S. court had issued a prohibition order against the site <coronavirusmedicalkit.com>, which was offering a fake vaccine against the coronavirus, presented as emanating from the World Health Organization. At the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, Justice Robert Pitman issued a prohibition order requiring immediate action to block public access to this fraudulent site (iptwins.com, 2020-03-30).
A few days earlier, the New York State Attorney General had sent a letter to the domain name registrars present in the United States (ag.ny.gov, 2020-03-20) imploring them to delete ads and domain names used to spread fake news or to sell so-called cures for the disease. The domain name <googlecoronavirus.com> was registered on March 14, 2020, with… Google Domains.
The number of fraudulent domain names and the dangerous use which can potentially be made of them requires an instantaneous response from the competent institutions and the parties concerned. In this case, Google acted with commendable promptness (perhaps facilitated by the fact that the domain name was registered with Google Domains). The UDRP complaint was sent on March 17, 2020, just three days after the registration of <googlecoronavirus.com>.
The decision does not reveal the use (made or imagined) of the disputed domain name. Generally speaking, this is quite a mute decision. Since the defendant consented to the transfer of the domain name, the third-party decision-maker took note of it and ordered the transfer without doing the substantial analysis usually required. All in all, it took only 20 days for the domain name to be transferred through a UDRP proceeding.