Intellectual Property

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What's Abusive in Registering Domain Names, and the Reverse?

The two major providers of arbitration services for adjudicating cybersquatting complaints under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Forum, issue daily lists of decisions. In approximately 90% of those disputes, the registrations cannot be described as anything less than mischievous in acquiring second level domains incorporating well-known or famous marks. more

Short Strings of Alphabet Letters in Domain Names: Random to Some, Identifiers to Others

What is the intrinsic (as opposed to trademark) value of short string domain names? It depends, of course. Rights holders have been willing to challenge domain name registrants even if they have no actionable claim for cybersquatting... UDRP Panels have over the years, and in many cases, affirmed that short strings are "inherently valuable in themselves precisely because they are (a) short and (b) can reflect a wide range of different uses." This does not mean it is open season against rights holders for short strings, but it does mean the facts and proof of cybersquatting must be in proper alignment, and this calls for some sober thinking about the evidentiary demands of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). more

Combinations of Dictionary Words in Domain Names: Common vs. Distinctive Phrases

The lexicon of domain names consists of letters, words, numbers, dots, and dashes. When the characters correspond in whole (identical) or in part (confusingly similar) to trademarks or service marks and their registrations postdate the first use of marks in commerce registrants become challengeable under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) as cybersquatters. more

Should Domain Names be Considered 'Contracts for Service' or 'Property Rights'?

The legal status of domain names is one of the most hotly debated topics with regards to evolving property rights and how they should be applied to technological and intellectual property 'innovations' in cyberspace. At present, there are two opposing factions on this topic: On one hand, there are those who maintain that domain names should be considered as contracts for services, which originate from the contractual agreement between the registrant and the registrar. more

Leveraging Traffic Statistics to Manage Corporate Domain Portfolios

Corporate domain name portfolios often consist of domain names that do not resolve to relevant content. In fact, it's not uncommon for less than half of corporate domains to point to live content. Sure there are domains such as those that point to "sucks" sites or those registered anonymously for future use that purposely do not resolve, but those are the exception to the rule. more

What Happens If Two Applications for a New gTLD Are a City and a Family Name?

When applying for a new gTLD, what happens if two applications for the same extension are a city and a family name? Which one wins? Let's imagine that a person whose family name is "Marseille" applied for the .MARSEILLE new gTLD in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. What if there was a .MARSEILLE new gTLD too but as the name of the French city? more

Making a Strategic Decision: URS or UDRP?

A discussion is presently underway about the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) (and in Phase 2 next year of the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (UDRP)), whether it is performing as intended. The URS is less than five years old, and there are not an overwhelming number of decisions. Since 2013, rights holders have filed less than one thousand complaints (with three providers, the Forum being the most active), which translates into less than 170 decisions annually... more

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

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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