Cybersquatting

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Orange Bowl ICANN UDRP Case Explores Fair Use

The resale of genuine products presents particular difficulties in domain name disputes, testing the application of fair use doctrine. Several domain name disputes involving the resale of event tickets illustrate the point. I served as a panelist in one such case The Orange Bowl Committee, Inc. v. Front and Center Tickets, Inc., D2004-0947 (WIPO 2005). The decision, which issued with a dissent, explored fair use in the domain name context and addressed several related ticket resale disputes. more»

When the Defendant is a Domain Name: The Power of In Rem Proceedings Under the ACPA

A recent decision by a federal court in Virginia illustrates some interesting legal issues that arise from the global nature of the domain name system. It also highlights a powerful mechanism under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA") by which a plaintiff can proceed with a legal action to recover a domain name without regard to the court's personal jurisdiction over the registrant.  more»

Top Domain Name News Stories of 2006

Record-breaking domain sales, acquisitions, and growing industry credibility all highlight a critical year for the domain name industry. The domain name industry had a heck of a year. It's impossible to rank the top news stories of 2006, but I'm going to make an attempt... Let's talk about it before the end of the year; then let's look forward to a fantastic 2007. more»

Analysis of Domain Names Registered Across Multiple Existing TLDs and Implications for New gTLDs

The following is an analysis based on the hypothesis that trademark holders are not, in general, registering their trademarks as domain names across the existing top-level domain namespace. To determine if the hypothesis is true, we examine domain names registered in the popular generic top-level domains ("gTLDs" such as .com, .net and .info), also using other publicly available information such as the USPTO database of trademarks, the English dictionary, DNS entries, UDRP records and whois records. more»

ICANN Board: You Got It Right. Then You Got It Wrong. Now, Get It Right Again.

The ICANN Board has itself in a pretty pickle. The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Consultancy with the Board in Brussels was an apparent non-starter. After hundreds of man-hours' worth of comments provided by the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC), the Board continues to claim that it lacks sufficient information on trademark issues in order to respond to concerns. more»

WIPO Responds to Significant Cybersquatting Activity In 2005

In a report released today, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has announced a 20% increase in the number of cybersquatting (abusive registration of trademarks as domain names) cases filed in 2005 as compared to 2004. The report further indicates that "in 2005, a total of 1,456 cybersquatting cases were filed with WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center. This increase represents the highest number of cybersquatting cases handled by the WIPO Center since 2001." more»

WIPO Crowing Again About "Cybersquatting"

Most of us would be put off if a court issued a press release cheering the number of prisoners its judges had put behind bars or the number of tenants it had helped landlords to evict. That seems antithetical to the neutral adjudication of disputes, and ethical rules regularly decry such "appearance of bias." Yet WIPO seems to think it perfectly natural to crow about its arbitrators' favoritism for complainants against "cybersquatters" in UDRP proceedings. It issued a release that reads like a solicitation for trademark claimants' business, not a promotion of neutral arbitration services... more»

Domain Speculation: Attack of the TechnoPinkos

This morning I was forwarded a link to the Business2.0 article on domainer Kevin Ham about a half-dozen times and one sent the reddit comment thread on it (titled "This guy is a piece of s**t") and I had to chuckle and replied "I see Techno-Pinkos are out in full force". Some of the comments are just classicly clueless: "He's just a parasite. Someone gaming the system for their own financial ends without providing a useful service to anyone, and making it worse for many." ...Newsflash: Speculation is any time you choose one path, good or service over another in the hopes that you will do better... more»

Jerry Falwell Critic Can Keep Domain Name, Appeals Court Says

I want to call your attention to a very important Internet free speech decision, perhaps the most significant of our domain name cases from the past several years. In Lamparello v. Falwell, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held today that the use of the domain name www.fallwell.com for a web site devoted to denouncing the views of Rev. Jerry Falwell about homosexuality neither infringes Falwell's trademark in his name nor constitutes "cybersquatting." more»

The World's Most Dangerous Country Code Top-Level Domains

If you want to know the world's most dangerous country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs), ask an anti-virus software company. McAfee has released its list of most dangerous country codes. Here are the top five... more»

Cornucopia: A Radically Different Approach to TLDs

Much of the discussion about proposed TLDs centres around domain names as a form of classification: ".mobi" for mobile device content, ".kids" for child-safe content, language codes for language-specific content, ".museum" for museum-related entities, and so on. Notoriously little activity has been forthcoming in actually implementing these proposals, and the select few that have been allowed out into the world are, shall we say, a tad arbitrary. I'd like to engage in a little thought experiment where we abandon the "few TLDs with carefully chosen meanings" paradigm, and instead consider the benefits of a cornucopia of completely meaningless TLDs. more»

ACPA Applies to Noncommercial Use of Domain Name

A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit confirms that "commercial use" by the defendant is required for a Lanham Act trademark or dilution claim, but is not required in a cybersquatting claim under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). Michael Kremer, a dissatisfied hair transplant patient, used the domain name www.BosleyMedical.com as a site critical to the Bosley Medical Institute, a hair transplant clinic. Bosley sued. The district court entered summary judgment for Kremer on the grounds that his conduct was not commercial... more»

Google Sued in Domainer Lawsuit: Vulcan Golf v. Google

Domainer litigation is heating up, and this lawsuit may be the most ambitious anti-domainer lawsuit to date. First, it is a putative class action lawsuit. Second, in addition to naming four leading domainer firms, the plaintiffs provocatively go after Google for providing ads to domainer sites. I believe this is the first lawsuit against Google for its domainer relationships. The complaint itself is a 121 page, 638 paragraph (with one paragraph enumerating 47 defined terms), 4.3MB behemoth alleging trademark infringement and dilution, ACPA violations, RICO and other claims. more»

Diverting Traffic On The Web: Trademarks And The First Amendment

What's at the heart of cybersquatting may also be at the heart of free speech on the Internet: the diversion of Internet users looking for plaintiff's web site to defendant's web site. Cybersquatters register domain names to accomplish this, while meta-infringers (as we will call them) use HTML code and search engine optimization techniques. Meta-infringers do this by creating keyword density by using competitor's trademarks and permutations thereof in their website in order to rank higher in the search engine results when someone searches on the competitor's trademarks. more»

Another Good Decision on Internet "Gripe Sites"

I want to call your attention to another court decision that upholds the right of a consumer to create a non-commercial web site criticizing a company, using the company's name as the domain name. Lucas Nursery and Landscaping v. Grosse, 2004 WL 403213 (6th Circuit March 5, 2004). This case involves Lucas Nursery, a landscaping company in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, which apparently botched work done for Michelle Gross - or at least that was her opinion. But, when she established a web site to tell her story, Lucas sued her under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA")... more»