Cybersquatting

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Trademarks and Domain Names Composed of Common Terms

The lexical material from which trademarks are formed is drawn from the same social and cultural resources available to everyone else, which includes domain name registrants. Since trademarks are essentially a form of communication, it is unsurprising that a good number of them are composed of common terms (dictionary words, descriptive phrases, and shared expressions) that others may lawfully use for their own purposes. more»

How Long Does a URS Case Take?

The Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) -- which allows a trademark owner to suspend certain domain names, especially those in the "new" gTLDs -- was designed as a quicker and less-expensive alternative to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). As I've written frequently before, there are significant differences between the URS and the UDRP. One of those differences is how long a typical proceeding lasts. more»

How Long Does a UDRP Case Take?

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was designed as a quicker and less-expensive alternative to litigation. Although the UDRP policy and rules provide strict timelines for various stages of a UDRP case, how quickly a dispute is actually resolved can vary based on numerous factors. A typical UDRP case results in a decision in about two months, but the facts of each case -- including actions both within and outside the control of the parties -- may shorten or extend that timing. more»

Sanctionable Conduct for Abusing the UDRP Process

To claim a superior right to a string of characters mark owners must (first) have priority (unregistered or registered) in using the mark in commerce; and secondly, have a mark strong enough to rebut any counter argument of registrant's right or legitimate interest in the string. A steady (albeit small) number of owners continue to believe it's outrageous for registrants to hold domain names earlier registered than their trademarks and be permitted to extort amounts far "in excess of [their] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name." more»

Diversity of View or Unacceptable Inconsistency in the Application of UDRP Law

The general run of Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (UDRP) decisions are unremarkable. At their least, they are primarily instructive in establishing the metes and bounds of lawful registration of domain names. A few decisions stand out for their acuity of reasoning and a few others for their lack of it. The latest candidate of the latter class is NSK LTD. v. Li shuo, FA170100 1712449 (Forum February 16, 2017)... It is an example of inconsistency in the application of law. more»

Timing Is All: Cybersquatting or Mark Owner Overreaching?

Admittedly, timing is not altogether "all" since there's a palette of factors that go into deciding unlawful registrations of domain names, and a decision as to whether a registrant is cybersquatting or a mark owner overreaching, is likely to include a number of them, but timing is nevertheless fundamental in determining the outcome. Was the mark in existence before the domain name was registered? Is complainant relying on an unregistered mark? What was complainant's reputation when the domain name was registered? What proof does complainant have that registrant had knowledge of its mark? Simply to have a mark is not conclusive of a right to the domain name. more»

How to Suspend a .US Domain Name

Although rarely used, the usTLD Rapid Suspension Dispute Policy (usRS) allows a trademark owner to seek the suspension of a domain name in the .us country-code top-level domain (ccTLD). The usRS has many things in common with the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), which applies to domain names in the new generic top-level domains (gTLD). more»

When a 'Response Fee' is Required in a URS Case

Although filing fees in domain name disputes are usually paid for by the trademark owner that files a complaint, the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) contains a little-noticed provision that, in large cases, requires the domain name registrant to pay a fee to defend itself. The so-called "Response Fee" is only required in URS cases that include 15 or more disputed domain names. more»

When to Consider 'Both Sides of the Dot' in a Domain Name Dispute

In the case, filed by Michelin, the panel found the domain name 'tyre.plus' confusingly similar to the trademark TYREPLUS. Specifically, the panel wrote: "If one ignores the 'dot' between the Second-Level Domain ('tyre') and the Top-Level Domain ('plus'), the mark and the Domain Name are identical..." It's an issue that's arising with increasing frequency -- just as I had predicted. more»

Counterfeit Marks and Counterfeit Goods: Pretense in Cyberspace

The term "counterfeit" is defined under U.S. trademark law as "a spurious mark which is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a registered mark." 15 U.S.C. ยง 1127 (Lanham Act, Sec. 45). Used as a noun, domain names ultimately found to have been registered in bad faith make their registrants cybersquatters by definition. But more commonly we encounter counterfeiting as an adjective as it applies to spurious goods (counterfeit goods) -- "made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud." more»

How a 'Defensive Registration' Can Defeat a UDRP Complaint

A company that registers a domain name containing someone else's trademark may be engaging in the acceptable practice of "defensive registration" if (among other things) the domain name is a typographical variation of the registrant's own trademark. That's the outcome of a recent decision under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), a case in which the domain name in dispute, idocler.com, contained the complainant's DOCLER trademark -- but also contained a typo of the respondent's DOLCER trademark. more»

CircleID's Top 10 Posts of 2016

The new year is upon us and it's time for our annual look at CircleID's most popular posts of the past year and highlighting those that received the most attention. Congratulations to all the 2016 participants and best wishes to all in the new year. more»

Parsing Domain Names Composed of Random Letters for Proof of Cybersquatting

The Respondent's cry of pain in AXA SA v. Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. / Ugurcan Bulut, axathemes, D2016-1483 (WIPO December 12, 2016) "[w]hat do you want from me people? I already removed all the files from that domain and it's empty. What else do you want me to do???" raises some interesting questions. "A," "x," and "a" is an unusual string of letters but unlike other iconic strings such as "u," "b" and "s" and "i", "b" and "m" for example that started their lives as the first letters of three-word brands AXA is not an acronym. more»

It's Official: 2016 Was a Record Year for Domain Name Disputes

As I predicted more than three months ago, 2016 turned out to be a record year for domain name disputes, including under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). That's according to statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the only UDRP service provider that publishes real-time data on domain name disputes. WIPO's statistics show 3,022 cases in 2016 -- an increase of almost 10 percent from 2015. The previous most-active year for domain name disputes was 2012... more»

Using Domain Name Privacy/Proxy Services Lawfully or to Hide Contact Information and Identity

Privacy/proxy services carry no per se stigma of nefarious purpose, although when first introduced circa 2006 there was some skepticism they could enable cybersquatting and panelists expressed different views in weighing the legitimacy for their use. Some Panels found high volume registrants responsible for registering domain-name-incorporating trademarks. Others rejected the distinction between high and low volume as a determining factor. more»

News Briefs

CADNA Returns to Lobby for Stronger Cybersquatting Laws

New Technique Detects and Eliminates Abusive Domains at Time of Registration

WIPO Reports Rise in Cybersquatting Cases, Triggered by New gTLDs

Facebook-owned Instagram Wants Domain Deal Upheld

Harm Caused by Typosquatting Is Still Modest, Research Suggests

Newly Released "Domain Name Arbitration" Book Offers Guide for Navigating UDRP

A Unique Seven-Month Long Study of the Typosquatting Landscape

WIPO Taking Screenshots of Filed UDRPs

Google Denied Right to Oogle.com, Registrant May Keep Domain

ICANN CEO: Top-Level Domain Expansion Has Been Anything But Rushed

Typosquatted Domain Names Pose Plenty of Risk But Surprisingly Little Malware

ICANN Asked to Delay New gTLD Expansion at the House of Representatives Committee Hearing

US Senate Committee Holds Hearing on ICANN's New TLD Expansion

Court OKs Private Seizure of Domain Names That Allegedly Sold Counterfeit Goods

UK Domain Registry Considers Criminal Domain Takedown Rules

FORUM Reports Steady Domain Dispute Filings in 2009, Also Issued Largest Single Decision on Record

CADNA: New gTLD Launch to Cost Businesses $746 Million

WIPO Reports Decrease in Cybersquatting Complains But Warns of TLD Expansion

Study Suggests New gTLD Cybersquatting, Defensive Registrations Overestimated

Study Suggests Introduction of New gTLDs Will Cost Less than $.10 for Each Trademark Worldwide

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