Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property / Recently Commented

Addressing Infringement: Developments in Content Regulation in the US and the DNS

Over the course of the last decade, in response to significant pressure from the US government and other governments, service providers have assumed private obligations to regulate online content that have no basis in public law. For US tech companies, a robust regime of "voluntary agreements" to resolve content-related disputes has grown up on the margins of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Communications Decency Act (CDA). more

Undone! Failure of Persuasion in UDRP Proceedings

A split Panel in an early decision under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) held that parties deserve more than "[i]t depends [on] what panelist you draw." Time Inc. v. Chip Cooper, D2000-1342 (WIPO February 13, 2001). That's one side of the paradigm; the other side makes demands on the parties to prove their contentions, either of cybersquatting (one element of which is proving that respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests) or rebutting the claim (one element of which is respondent demonstrating it has rights or legitimate interests). 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

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

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

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

Upcoming Brands and Domains Conference to Explore Various Views on DotBrands

After its first edition in Valencia, Brands and Domains will travel this time to the Netherlands where the second conference will take place from the 2nd to 3rd of October 2017. This time, Dot Stories, the main organizer, chose the Hotel Amrath Kurhaus for the event. Nowadays, more than 600 applicants hold already the right to start their own dot brand, but there are not so many who have been brave enough to use it. more

Nation Scale Internet Filtering — Do's and Don'ts

If a national government wants to prevent certain kinds of Internet communication inside its borders, the costs can be extreme and success will never be more than partial. VPN and tunnel technologies will keep improving as long as there is demand, and filtering or blocking out every such technology will be a never-ending game of one-upmanship. Everyone knows and will always know that determined Internet users will find a way to get to what they want, but sometimes the symbolic message is more important than the operational results. more

ICANN Complaint System Easily Gamed

ICANN's WDPRS system has been defeated. The system is intended to remove or correct fraudulently registered domains, but it does not work anymore. Yesterday I submitted a memo to the leadership of the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the greater At-Large community. The memo concerns the details of a 214-day saga of complaints about a single domain used for trafficking opioids. more

Notice, Takedown, Borders, and Scale

I was on the front lines of the SOPA wars, because SOPA touched on two matters of strong personal and professional importance for me: protecting the Internet infrastructure, and protecting the economy from Internet related crime. I've continued to study this field and advise industry participants in the years since then. The 2017-02-20 paper by Annemarie Bridy entitled Notice and Takedown in the Domain Name System: ICANN's Ambivalent Drift into Online Content Regulation deserves an answer, which I shall attempt here. more

When Two Trademarks Aren't Confusingly Similar to One Trademark

As I've written before, domain name disputes involving multiple trademarks sometimes raise interesting issues, including whether a panel can order a domain name transferred to one entity without consent of the other. While panels typically have found ways to resolve this issue, one particularly troubling fact pattern arises when a panel denies a complaint simply because a disputed domain name contains trademarks owned by two different entities. more