Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting / Featured Blogs

Warranties and Representations on Purchasing Domain Names: What are they Worth?

The WIPO Final Report published in April 1999, from which sprung the UDRP the following October, is useful in shedding light on what the assembled constituencies had in mind in agreeing to particularly contentious issues. One of those issues was whether registrants had to actively search trademark records before purchasing domain names. Other than paragraph 2 of the Policy which codifies registrants' representations, there is no guidance as to what registrants must do... more»

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»