Intellectual Property

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The Fight Is on to Save Access to WHOIS: A Call to Action for Brand Owners

Late last week, ICANN published the guidance from the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) that we have been waiting for. Predictably, WP29 took a privacy maximalist approach to the question of how Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to WHOIS, a tool widely used by cybersecurity professionals, businesses, intellectual property owners, consumer protection agencies and others to facilitate a safer and more secure internet.  more

Leveraging Trademark Data to Drive Domain Name Strategy

For years, corporate domain name portfolio managers have struggled with determining whether or not their portfolios were the "right" size. Managers of mature domain name portfolios have often felt that their portfolios were bloated, containing domains that were no longer needed. Conversely, domain managers of newer portfolios have sometimes known that gaps existed. Regardless, the question remains -- just how many domains should a corporate portfolio contain? more

Tracking the Line that Separates Cybersquatting from Trademark Infringement

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a rights protection mechanism crafted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for trademark owners to challenge the lawfulness of domain name registrations. Cybersquatting or abusive registration is a lesser included tort of trademark infringement, and although the UDRP forum is not a trademark court, as such, in some ways it is since it empowers (assuming the right alignment of facts) to divest registrants of domain names that infringe a complainant's trademark rights. more

Trademarks vs Domain Names: Dictionary Words, Common, Combinations, and Arbitrary Letters

The typical daily accounting of decisions filed in disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) may include an award or two dismissing complaints (three is particularly noteworthy: weddingfleamarket.com, dme.com, and scheduleflow.com from the Forum for January 20, 2018), but overwhelmingly complaints are granted not dismissed. Let us imagine a trademark or service mark that is neither a dictionary word nor composed of common combinations, would anyone be surprised when the Panel rules in Complainant's favor? more

The UDRP and Judicial Review

The courts of the United Kingdom have set themselves outside the mainstream of Internet consensus policies on trademark/domain name disputes. A U.K. court decision regarding the UDRP reflects an unfortunate tendency to overlook one of the fundamental principles of the UDRP, namely the opportunity to seek independent resolution of a trademark/domain name dispute by court proceedings. more

So, You Claim to Have an Unregistered Mark! Is there Cybersquatting?

Complainants have standing to proceed with a claim of cybersquatting under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) if the accused "domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights" (4(a)(i) of the Policy). Quickly within the first full year of the Policy's implementation (2000) Panels construed "rights" to include unregistered as well as registered marks, a construction swiftly adopted by consensus. more

2017 Domain Name Year in Review

Given that it's been a few years since my last domain name year in review, I've really enjoyed looking back at this year's biggest domain name stories and seeing how this industry has evolved. This year, in particular, has seen some notable changes which are likely to impact the domain name landscape for years to come. So without further ado, here is my list for 2017. more

Long-held Domain Names Transferred to Complainants

There has lately been a number of long-held investor registered domain names transferred to complainants under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Two of the domain names were registered 23 years ago. This has provoked several commentators to complain that the UDRP is tilted in favor of mark owners and trademark-friendly panelists expressing hostility to the domain industry. I think we have to dig deeper than this. more

Vulnerabilities of Weak Marks and Uncurated Websites

Dictionary words, alone, combined as phrases, modified by other parts of speech, and single letters that function as marks also retain in parallel their common associations that others may use without offending third-party rights. As a rule of thumb, generic terms are not registrable as marks until they perceivably cross a threshold to suggestive and higher classifications. more

UDRPs Filed - Brand Owners Take Note

After being in the domain industry for over 15 years, there aren't too many things that catch me by surprise, but recently a few UDRP filings have me scratching my head. Both ivi.com and ktg.com have had UDRPs filed against them, and I have to say for anyone holding a valuable domain name, it's a cautionary tale and one that should have folks paying attention to the outcome of each. more

Apple (Not Surprisingly) is Not a Cybersquatter

It's highly unusual for a well-known trademark owner to be accused of cybersquatting, but that's what happened when a Mexican milk producer filed a complaint against Apple Inc. under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) in an attempt to get the domain name lala.com. Not only did Apple win the case, but the panel issued a finding of "reverse domain name hijacking" (RDNH) against the company that filed the complaint. more

Google Can, at Least for Now, Disregard Canadian Court Order Requiring Deindexing Worldwide

U.S. federal court issues preliminary injunction, holding that enforcement of Canadian order requiring Google to remove search results would run afoul of the Communications Decency Act... Canadian company Equustek prevailed in litigation in Canada against rival Datalink on claims relating to trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition. After the litigation, Equustek asked Google to remove Datalink search results worldwide. Google initially refused altogether... more

Confusing Similarity of Domain Names is Only a 'Standing Requirement' Under the UDRP

WIPO's newest overview of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) succinctly states what decisions have made clear through the years: The UDRP's first test is only a "standing requirement." Standing, under the law, simply means that a person or company is qualified to assert a legal right. It does not mean or imply that one will necessarily prevail on any claims. The UDRP includes a well-known three-part test that all trademark owners must satisfy to prevail, but the first element has a low threshold. more

Reverse Domain Hijacking Where Complainant Knew but Did Not Disclose Geographic Significance of Mark

In the case of Oy Vallila Interior Ab v. Linkz Internet Services, a 3-member WIPO Panel denied the Complainant's efforts to have the disputed domain name vallila.com transferred because the Complainant did not prove that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant is in the business of providing fabrics and interior design services and claimed trademark rights in its registered mark VALLILA in the European Union. more

Trademark Rights Paramount to Contract Rights for Domain Names

UDRP decisions come down from providers (principally from WIPO and the Forum) at the rate of 7 to 10 a day. Complainants mostly prevail; this is because in 90% of the cases (more or less that percentage) respondents have no plausible defense and generally don't bother appearing, although default alone is not conclusive of cybersquatting; there must be evidence of infringement. When complainants do not prevail, it is not because they lack rights... more

News Briefs

Kodak Announces a Blockchain Platform Initiative for Image Rights Management

EFF Warns ICANN Not to Engage in Censorship, Says It Should Stick to Technical Role

Civil Society Groups Call for Deletion of Internet Filtering Provision in EU Copyright Proposal

EFF Cautions Against Unfair TLD Policies, Offers Advice on Choosing New gTLDs for Best Protection

Domain Registrations in New TLDs Overwhelmingly for Defensive Purposes, INTA Study

Cycling Legend Greg LeMond Sues Cybersquatters Upward of $6.6 Million

Feds Shut Down Largest File-Sharing Site KickassTorrents - Founder Arrested, Domains Seized

Thomson Reuters in Definitive Agreement to Sell Intellectual Property Unit Including MarkMonitor

UK Bill Ups Prison Term for Online Piracy from 2 to 10 Years

Internet Governance Forum USA 2016 on Thursday, July 14

ICANN Says It Will Not Get Directly Involved With Infringing Domains

WIPO Reports Rise in Cybersquatting Cases, Triggered by New gTLDs

TLD Operators Should Not Police Content, Says EFF

Google Received 65.9 Million Take Down Requests Last Month, Company Reports

European Parliament Backs Resolution to Break Up Search Giant

US Should Take More Aggressive Counter-Measures On IP Theft, Including Use of Malware

Domain Seizures for Copyright Infringement Likely to Move Beyond U.S. Based Registries

Feds Shut Down File-Sharing Website Megaupload.com, Seven People Charged

Protect IP Act to Be Amended in Response to Pressure from Technical Community

Over 80 Internet Inventors and Engineers Send Open Letter to US Congress

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