Cybersquatting

Blogs

Trademark Owners' Rights to Corresponding Earlier Registered Domain Names

As I pointed out in last week's essay, having trademark rights that come into existence later than registrations of corresponding domain names only gets complainants to first base; they have standing but no actionable claim. I also noted a nuance (not a difference in substance) in standing requirements between the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). However, standing depends upon the specific facts of the case... more»

Even Lawyers Have Domain Name Problems

No industry is immune from cybersquatting - not even the legal industry. In three recent (and unrelated) UDRP decisions, law firms won decisions ordering the transfer of domain names that contain their trademarks. One of the cases involved Alston & Bird, the large law firm where I began my legal career and first learned about domain name disputes 20 years ago. As the UDRP decision describes it, Alston & Bird is a well-known law firm founded in 1893 with offices throughout the world. more»

Quintessential and Other Acts of Bad Faith in Acquiring Domain Names

There are two essential differences between the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), one procedural and one substantive. The procedural difference is quite minor, a mere quirk that Panels adopted by consensus in the early days of the UDRP and deserves no more than a footnote. Under the UDRP, complainants have standing on proof that they have trademark rights when they file their complaints... more»

Split UDRP Decisions on (Almost) Identical Domain Names

A company called Rocketgate PR LLC, which owns a U.S. registration for the trademark ROCKETPAY, filed two UDRP complaints on the same date against two different domain name registrants - for the domain names and . (The only difference is that the latter domain name is plural.) In both cases, the disputed domain names were associated with inactive websites. The UDRP cases were assigned to two different panelists, who issued their decisions one day apart. more»

No Barrier to Reading Across the Dot with New TLDs and Trademark Infringements

Even before the introduction of new top level domains in 2014, Panels had grappled with the before and after the dot issue with country code suffixes. The traditional procedure is to compare the characters of the accused domain names with the characters of trademarks for identity or confusing similarity. But this did not exclude the possibility of reading across the dot. more»

Running the Gamut: Commentary, Criticism, Tarnishment, Disparagement, and Defamation

The two bookends of speaking one's mind are commentary and criticism, which is indisputably acceptable as protected speech, and (in order of abuse) tarnishment and disparagement. Defamation, which is a stage beyond disparagement, is not actionable under the UDRP, although tarnishment and disparagement may be. In ICANN's lexicon, tarnishment is limited in meaning to "acts done with intent to commercially gain" (Second Staff Report, October 24, 2009, footnote 2). more»

Transfers of Domain Names Contemporaneous with Complaint: Cyberflight?

Cyberflight (defined as strategically transferring accused domain names to another registrar or registrant upon receipt of a complaint) was a sufficient irritant by 2013 for the ICANN to adopt recommendations to amend the Rules of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Effective July 1, 2015 the Rules now include a requirement for locking the domain as well as a change in the timing of transmitting the complaint to respondents. Before the amendment there had been no uniform approach to locking. more»

The Growing Threat of Cybersquatting in the Banking and Finance Sector

The apparent cyber heist of of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank's U.S. account may cause some people to question the security of online banking. While the online theft prompted SWIFT - a cooperative owned by 3,000 financial institutions around the world -- to make sure banks are following recommended security practices, the incident also could have ramifications for banking customers worldwide. more»

Charter Approved to Review All Rights Protections Mechanisms in All Generic TLDs

On March 9th, 2016, during its final open meeting at ICANN 55 in Marrakech, Morocco, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council approved a motion that I proposed to adopt the Charter of the Policy Development Process (PDP) to Review all Rights Protections Mechanisms (RPMs) in all Generic Top-Level Domains. I serve on the Council as one of the two representatives of ICANN's Business Constituency, and my fellow Councilors have designated me to serve as the GNSO's Liaison to the Working Group (WG), and as its Interim Chair. more»

Proving and Rebutting Respondent Lacks Rights or Legitimate Interests in Accused Domain Names

Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy requires complainants to offer evidence conclusive by itself or sufficient from which to infer that respondents lack rights or legitimate interests in the accused domain names. As I've pointed out in earlier essays (here and here) the standard of proof is low and relies on inference, for good reason; beyond the visual proof and what may be obtainable from on- and offline research, respondents control evidence of their choices. more»

Overreaching Trademark Owners and the Misguided Better Right Theory of Domain Name Ownership

In Blogs devoted to news from the domain name industry and domainers, there is great glee in reporting about overreaching trademark owners. The reason for the glee, I think, is that it's a form of collective sigh from domainers and the domain industry that the UDRP is working as it should, which means that Panels are careful in their assessments of parties' rights. more»

Is the URS Dying?

The much-maligned Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) is not only failing to catch on -- it's actually starting to fade. Once envisioned as a popular rights-protection mechanism for trademark owners under the new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs), the URS instead is seldom used. In fact, despite the growth in new gTLD registrations, the URS is in decline. more»

2015 Domain Year in Review

2015 was a challenging yet exciting year for brand owners. While new gTLDs continue to consume much of the news in the domain industry, there were other notable highlights. Global domain registrations reached nearly 300 million; ICANN had several initiatives in motion that were of particular concern to brand owners; and companies continued to face threats to their brand reputation, revenue and customer trust. Here's my top 5 domain highlights from 2015. more»

ICANN Compliance Lends a Hand to a Violent Criminal While Trashing a Legitimate Business

Imagine a California non-profit corporation providing material assistance to a criminal wanting to do you physical and financial harm. Then, imagine that corporation is ICANN. Imagine no longer, because that is precisely what the ICANN Compliance department managed to pull off this week, in an all-too-common demonstration of the havoc they can cause by sheer ineptitude, without apology or concern. This is the situation which crossed my desk this week. more»

Curbing Cyber- and Typosquatting

We need a tax. You don't hear that too often. But right now a tax is the weapon needed by the domain name community. We face way too many cyber- and typosquatters. To drive them back, let's tax parked and unused domain names. Done right -- sized properly and phased in -- the tax will make it much harder for speculators to turn a profit while they keep domains sitting idle or parked. more»

News Briefs

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

Brand Owners, Representatives of WIPO and ICANN Discuss New gTLD Concerns

Report on Domain Name Registry Efforts to Curb Abuse

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