Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting / Recently Commented

Dot-Com is Still King - of Domain Name Disputes

Despite the launch of more than 1,200 new gTLDs, .com remains far and away the most popular top-level domain involved in domain name disputes. In 2016, .com domain names represented 66.82 percent of all gTLD disputes at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the only domain name dispute provider that publishes real-time statistics. And, as of this writing, the rate is even higher so far in 2017, with .com domain names accounting for 69.78 percent of all disputes. more»

A Lesson from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Domain Name Disputes

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been making news as the result of controversial changes brought about under the new Trump administration -- including the planned removal of "several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information" -- the EPA also has generated some (lesser-known) domain name news: The agency won a decision under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for the domain name noattacks.org. more»

Passive Holding of Domain Names and the Argument for Bad Faith or Forfeiture

There is a misconception among some trademark owners and their counsel that passive holding of domain names alone or combined with lack of rights or legitimate interests supports abusive registration. Thus, Respondent's inactive use of the disputed domain name demonstrates bad faith. Respondent also had actual knowledge of Complainant's YOU ASKED FOR IT mark as Complainant has attempted to buy the domain from Respondent... 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»

Excessive Offers to Sell Domain Names: Evidence of Bad Faith or Bona Fide Business Practice?

Not infrequently heard in domain name disputes are cries of shock and gnashing of teeth that domain name holders may lawfully offer their inventory at excessive prices. Take for example TOBAM v. M. Thestrup / Best Identity, D2016-1990 (WIPO November 21, 2016) (<tobam.com>). Respondent accused Complainant of bullying which Complainant denied... more»

Trademark Overreaching and Faux Cybersquatting Claims

Trademarks can be strong in two ways: either inherently distinctive (arbitrary or fanciful marks), or composed of common elements that have acquired distinctiveness (descriptive or suggestive marks). Trademarks can also be weak in two ways: either composed of common elements, or lacking significant marketplace presence other than in their home territories. Panelists have seen them all, even by respondents alleging trademark rights registered later in time to complainant's. 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»

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»

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»

WIPO Reports Rise in Cybersquatting Cases, Triggered by New gTLDs

According to the latest report from The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), trademark owners filed 2,754 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with the agency in 2015 - an increase of 4.6 % over the previous year. 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»

CADNA: New gTLD Launch to Cost Businesses $746 Million

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) has released a report today suggesting that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) anticipated launch of 400 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) could cost brand owners worldwide over $746 million. "CADNA's findings are based off a document released by ICANN last month regarding the expected number of gTLDs, or the letters found after the last dot of a domain name like .COM or .ORG, that will be created during the first round of the TLD launch." On the other hand, Earlier this year, Minds + Machines reported on an analysis predicting new gTLDs will only cost $.10 per trademark worldwide. 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»

New gTLD Abuse Trends Beginning to Emerge

With just over 2.4 million New gTLDs registered, abuse trends are beginning to emerge. Earlier this month we conducted a review of the top 100 most highly-trafficked Web property names across the top 5 most popular new gTLD registries. It is apparent that the abuse we had expected has occurred -- just not where we had anticipated. more»

The Coding of Online Brand Protection

Moore's law postulates that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit will double every two years. That law has given us smartphones and other devices with astonishingly diverse capabilities at ever lower costs. However, while it does not encompass online brand infringement, many trademark managers feel that their task is likewise expanding at exponential speed and imposing escalating costs. Potential cybersquatting based in the more than one thousand new generic top level domains is only one new source of anxiety. While the jury is still out on the level of harmful cybersquatting and the efficacy of the new Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) for new gTLDs, that ICANN program is hardly the only challenge. more»