Cybersquatting

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Astronomical Increases in Domain Names: Low Constancy of Abusive Registrations

When ICANN implemented the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) in 1999, the number of registered domain names were in the low eight digits. Registered domain names passed the first million in 1997. Today, they are in the first third of nine digits, and continuing to grow. In its newly released publication gTLD Marketplace Health Index (Beta) (July 21, 2016) ICANN offers through a couple dozen metrics a picture of the multiple parts that corporately go into making a healthy marketplace. It's "Beta" because the Health Index is a work in progress. more»

'Pokemon' Domain Names are a No-Go

The legal issues surrounding the sudden success of "Pokemon Go" -- one of the world's fastest-growing apps or games -- are popping up as quickly as unhatched Eggs at a PokéStop. Within days of the game's release, the National Safety Council issued a call that "urges pedestrians to exercise caution while playing the Pokémon Go augmented reality game" and "implores drivers to refrain from playing the game behind the wheel." more»

Fair Use Incorporating Trademarks in Domain Names

The paragraph 4(c)(iii) safe harbors of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy are construed from a five word phrase, "legitimate noncommercial or fair use." "Noncommercial" like "identical" in paragraph 4(a)(i) has a defined meaning; it does not include domain names inactively held (for any alleged purpose), although non-use is not necessarily fatal to rights or legitimate interests. "Fair use" has a larger canvass; it includes nominative (commercial) use that is fair and Constitutionally protected speech. more»

Domain Names Identical to Trademarks But No Likelihood of Confusion

Confusion is a basic element in both cybersquatting and trademark infringement. It appears twice in the UDRP; once in paragraph 4(a)(i) in the adjectival phrase "confusing similarity", and once in paragraph 4(b)(iv) in the phrase "likelihood of confusion." Each use of the distinctive phrases is directed to a different observer. More of this in a moment. The first relates to standing; the second to infringement. Unless a party has standing it can have no actionable claim. more»

Cyber Infringement of Trademarks by Typosquatting

A fabled, serial cybersquatter of the early Internet argued that typographical errors in domain names were not cybersquatting at all because they had their own distinct identities. Moreover, "I have" (he argued) "just as much right to own the [misspelled] Domain Names as the person who owns the correct spelling of [a] domain name." That dispute involved and <wallstreet journel.com>. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and Dow Jones LP v. John Zuccarini, D2000-0578 (WIPO September 10, 2000). more»

No Time Bar for Cybersquatting Claims Under UDRP

Headline in TheDomains.com, June 18, 2016: "Wow: 20 Year Old Domain Name WorldTradeCenter.com Lost in UDRP." For those who don't follow UDRP decisions carefully this may elicit, how can this be? Well, surprised or not, and assuming complainant has priority in the string of characters that is both a domain name and a trademark... delay is not a factor in prevailing on cybersquatting claims when there is an alignment of other factors... more»

The Popularity of .co (not .com) Domain Name Disputes

One of the most popular top-level domains under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is not even a gTLD (generic top-level domain). It's a ccTLD: .co, the country-code top-level domain for Colombia, in South America. Based on statistics at WIPO as of this writing, 29 .co domain names have been the subject of UDRP disputes this year, making it the most-disputed ccTLD under the popular domain name dispute policy. more»

Statutory Remedies for UDRP Grievants

The U.S. is unusual in that grievants of a UDRP award have a statutory remedy from an adverse UDRP award, namely an action for declaratory judgement under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). The action is not an appeal, but a de novo assessment of the parties' rights, either that the domain name holder is cybersquatting or its registration was lawful. Under U.S. law UDRP awards are not treated as arbitration awards subject to the Federal Arbitration Act but as new disputes. more»

Disputes Falling Outside the Scope of the UDRP

The UDRP is a forum of limited jurisdiction designed for trademark owners to combat a certain kind of tortious (sometimes tipping to criminal) conduct by which registrants register domain names with the bad faith intent of taking economic advantage of owner's marks and injuring consumers by beguiling them to disclose personal information. The forum is not open to trademark owners whose claims are outside its scope, even though they may include allegations of cybersquatting. more»

Declaring and Declining to Find Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

What to one panelist is clearly bad faith conduct in filing a UDRP complaint, to another is excusable for lack of proof. The disagreement over reverse domain name hijacking centers on the kind of evidence necessary to justify it and the nature of the burden. RDNH is defined as "using the UDRP in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain-name holder of a domain name." Rule 1, Definitions. more»

Unlawful Targeting of Trademarks and Consumers in Registering Domain Names

Unlike trademark applications which go through a lengthy examination process before advancing to registration, anyone (anywhere in the world) can register a domain name identical or confusingly similar to a trademark - instantly and no questions asked, at least, in the traditional space (the legacy gTLDs)! With the new gTLDs registrants will receive notice of possible infringement if the brands are registered with the Trademark Mark Clearing House, but notices do not function as injunctions to block registrants from registering infringing names. more»

Using the URS as a Preliminary Injunction for Domain Name Disputes

As I've written before, the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) - the domain name dispute policy applicable to the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) - is just not catching on. Whether because of its limited suspension remedy, high burden of proof or other reasons, the URS remains unpopular among trademark owners. However, there's one interesting use to which the URS can be put. more»

Strategic Use of Screenshots from the Wayback Machine

Internet Archive contains a vast library of screenshots of websites that its Wayback Machine captures sporadically over the course of domain names' histories. While it doesn't compile daily images it opens a sufficient window to past use which is unique, invaluable, and free. (There are also subscription services, but they come at a hefty cost!). How it's used (and why the Wayback Machine should be in a party's toolkit) for supporting and opposing claims of cybersquatting is illuminated in a number of recent UDRP cases. more»

Who Contacts Whom: A Material Factor in Selling Domain Names Corresponding to Trademarks

Acquiring domain names for the purpose of selling them to complainants is the second most heavily invoked of the four circumstances that are evidence of abusive registration. Because no self-respecting domain name reseller will ever admit to acquiring domain names "primarily for the purpose" of selling them to complainants "for valuable consideration in excess of [their] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name" evidence of bad faith is typically deduced by other factors. more»

Cybersquatting & Banking: How Financial Services Industry Can Protect Itself Online (Free Webinar)

Businesses in the financial services sector are among the most frequent targets of cybersquatters. In this free webinar, I will be joining Craig Schwartz of fTLD Registry Services to provide important information about how domain name fraud is affecting the financial services industries, including banking and insurance, and what businesses and consumers can do to protect themselves online. 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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