Intellectual Property

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Corresponding to Trademarks, But Nonactionable Claims for Cybersquatting

The threshold for an actionable claim under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a trademark in which complainant has rights. "Rights" means a trademark that could have been newly minted a moment before filing the complaint. This is different from the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) in which trademark owners must have a "mark that is distinctive at the time of registration of the domain name." The difference is important... more»

8 Facts About 3-Member Panels in UDRP Cases

Proceedings under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) can be heard by either a one- or three-member panel. Here are eight important facts that every complainant (trademark owner) and respondent (domain name registrant) should consider when deciding whether to select one or three members... Either party - complainant or respondent - has an opportunity to select a three-member panel... more»

Understanding 'Reverse Domain Name Hijacking' Under the UDRP

"Reverse Domain Name Hijacking" (RDNH) is a finding that a panel can make against a trademark owner in a case under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)... While neither the UDRP nor the Rules provide any further details or guidance, the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition, provides some insight into the circumstances in which panels have found RDNH. more»

Building a Base of Knowledge for Advocacy Abroad in the Digital Age

Answering questions at the Internet Association's Virtuous Circle conference last week, Secretary Kerry presented the U.S. Department of State's effort to prioritize global digital economy issues abroad in order to reflect the growing importance of these issues in both economic and foreign policy. The State Department has made real progress on this initiative in the last year and hopes to continue our momentum going forward. more»

How to Combat Counterfeiters on Chinese Marketplaces

Establishing your brand in an effort to combat counterfeiters on the ever growing and incredibly popular Chinese marketplace Alibaba can seem like a daunting task. Alibaba has grown so popular that it now ships over 12 million packages a day, compared the 3 million shipped by Amazon. Additionally, on Cyber Monday, a popular day for online shopping during the holiday season, Amazon processed 37 million orders. In comparison on Singles Day, an annual holiday in China, Alibaba processed 278 million orders. more»

Fair Use Registration of Domain Names for Artists and Hobbyists

There is in the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act a provision not expressly found in the UDRP (at least, not in so many words) but the concept is nevertheless present in the Policy by construction... The term "fair use" is typically associated with protected speech (criticism and commentary), fan websites, and nominative use of domain names but it is not limited to those uses. It's a flexible principle in both trademark and copyright law. more»

Losing and Reclaiming Domain Names

For registrants who are not trademark owners losing their domain names can be an irretrievable loss; and for trademark owners, perhaps not irretrievable but fraught with uncertainties of recovery. ICANN attempted to solve the problem of inadvertent lapses of registration in the Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP) and its companion the Expired Domain Name Deletion Policy (EDNDP), implemented in 2013. more»

TMCH Review Recommends Status Quo

On July 25th ICANN announced the publication of the Draft Report of the Independent Review of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). This study was coordinated for ICANN by the Analysis Group, in conjunction with researchers from the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford as well the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School... while public comments on the draft report will be accepted through September 3rd, this Report was triggered by GAC concerns expressed before the Applicant Guidebook for the new gTLD program was even completed, and is not the work product of a GNSO-created working group and therefore will not directly result in the establishment of any new ICANN policy. more»

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»

5 Myths About DMCA 'Take-Down' Notices

The so-called notice-and-take-down provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provide both a very effective tool for copyright owners to get infringing content removed from the Internet as well as an important protection for service providers (such as website hosting companies) that may inadvertently publish infringing material, either directly or via user-generated content. 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»

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»

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»

News Briefs

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

ISOC Joins Opposition to Stop Online Piracy Act

Major ISPs in Australia Reveal Plans to Crack Down on Online Piracy

EFF: Court Refuses to Return Seized Domain Name

Americans Soon Facing Harsh Penalties for Illegal Downloads

Fed's Domain Name Crackdown Meets DNS Backlash

New US Senate Bill Introduced Requiring ISPs to Block Pirate Sites

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