How Adobe forcefully took away our domain

Around 2007 I purchased the domain and started developing a site with free files for photoshop users, the site was not intended to trick users in any way, or make them think they are on Adobe's site, or sell Adobe related products, etc.

In 2019, after over 12 years of working on the site, promoting it, etc, and when site grown into a community with over 100 000 confirmed members, Adobe hired a law firm called Perkins Coie LLP, this firm started threatening me over email to simply hand over the domain to them or else I would face various consequences.

Adobe's lawyers made an UDRP domain claim, basically complaining that they should own the name because they have rights over part of the domain name (photoshop), (they also have copyright over the letter "A" among many others).

The claim was made to ADR Forum , a mediation company licensed by ICANN domains authority to mediate domain disputes, and to lock, transfer domain ownership to whoever they please, without domain owner being able to do anything.

Once a claim is made, I am able to select 3 board members / lawyers that would mediate the case, bastically if you pay a ~$1450 you are able to pick 3 laywyers from a predefined list of "approved" lawyers, these lawyers work full time for these corporations like Adobe, and for a living they advise them on how to protect their brand. The lawyers I pick are just a guidance, the other party also selects 3, and the mediator picks one from each side and one from them.

Quick question: Can you guess what are the chances of an individual from Romania against a multi billion dollar company when the decision is made by corporate lawyers working for the same companies ?! Thank you ICANN for such fair rules.

AdrForum decided that these persons should mediate this case: Ho-Hyun Nahm as the Chair of the three-member Panel along with Neil Anthony Brown and John J. Upchurch.

The 3 above mediators / lawyers decided that the Adobe is the rightfull owner of the domain and in next few weeks, our registrar NameCheap transfered our domain to them.

During the UDRP procedure the law says that domain should be locked, but the UDRP should not affect renewal of the domain, however NameCheap blocked the domoain renewal too, so in case Adobe loses the dispute, I can lose the domain by not being able to renew it.

Also, under the same UDRP procedure, namecheap disabled my whois privacy and exposed my private information (home address, home phone, email, etc) to the internet, breaking the European GDRP law. NameCheap did this on the lawyer's request, so they can gather private information about me, and to see what other domains I own.

I made a complaint to ICANN about how NameCheap blocked domain renewal, and exposed my private information, ICANN waited over 10 days for NameCheap to revert that, and then replied after a few hours and told me they see no problem. When I shown proof of the rules and laws broken they basically said they don't care and I am free to sue NameCheap if I want to.

In order to confirm I am not being ripped off and that this whole thing is a fraud, I asked CarmenP (case coordonator) from AdrForum if they made any verifications to confirm that the person initiating the claim is indeed acting on Adobe's behalf. She replied that I am free to make the verifications myself, I asked again saying that since they locked my domain (and later took it away) they should confirm that this is not a fraud and that claim initiator is indeed acting on Adobe's behalf. They didn't reply anymore.

AdrForum case id: FA1902001829809

If you are wondering why this happens, a good reason for Adobe to do this is that they manage a competitive service called "Adobe Exchange" where they earn commissions by selling files and components, so they cannot let others like offer similar files for free.

Our site is now called OpenGFX and will be used to give users access to free graphics and possibly additional formats besides PSD/Photoshop files.