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Proving Common Law Rights Predating Domain Name Registration

The trademark rights required for standing under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) refer to both registered and unregistered rights. Complainants with registered trademarks satisfy the requirement by submitting their certificates of registration. However, and not surprisingly, complainants with unregistered trademarks have to demonstrate that the alleged marks qualify as such, which requires that complainants prove both secondary meaning of the marks and their distinctiveness prior to the registration of the domain name. more»

Is the Internet a Tobacco Product?

Audacity by federal policy makers can be admirable, at least in some cases, but it can a bit more problematic in others. A case in point is the Food and Drug Administration's "deeming" of the internet to be a tobacco product. The FDA explained that it was exercising its authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which gave the agency an extensive set of duties, responsibilities and authorities over "tobacco products." more»

Reflections on the G7 ICT Ministers Meeting in Japan

On April 30, 2016, ICT Ministers of the "G7 group" concluded their deliberations in the beautiful city of Takamatsu, Kagawa prefecture in Japan. After months of preparatory work and two full days of discussions, the ICT Ministers of the USA, UK, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Germany plus the European Union issued a joint declaration that: recognizes our digitally connected world; commits to mutual goals and, once again; reaffirms the multistakeholder model for the governance issues facing the deployment, development and evolution of the global Internet. more»

Cybersquatting & Banking: How Financial Services Industry Can Protect Itself Online (Free Webinar)

Businesses in the financial services sector are among the most frequent targets of cybersquatters. In this free webinar, I will be joining Craig Schwartz of fTLD Registry Services to provide important information about how domain name fraud is affecting the financial services industries, including banking and insurance, and what businesses and consumers can do to protect themselves online. more»

Warranties and Representations on Purchasing Domain Names: What are they Worth?

The WIPO Final Report published in April 1999, from which sprung the UDRP the following October, is useful in shedding light on what the assembled constituencies had in mind in agreeing to particularly contentious issues. One of those issues was whether registrants had to actively search trademark records before purchasing domain names. Other than paragraph 2 of the Policy which codifies registrants' representations, there is no guidance as to what registrants must do... more»

ICANN vs. the Federal Reserve

The Internet is about to go independent. After years of support and supervision, the U.S. Government is about to irrevocably relinquish its control over the Internet by transferring its authority to an independent corporation named ICANN. As part of this push, the current chairman of ICANN posted this article to the Wall Street Journal... What's truly amazing about this piece, is how well it's done... It was only after digesting this piece, that I remembered we are talking about ICANN here. more»

The Future of Domain Name Dispute Policies: The Journey Begins

A just-launched ICANN "working group" (of which I am a member) will - eventually - help to determine the future of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the 17-year-old domain name arbitration system that has been embraced by trademark owners and criticized by some domainers; as well as the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), the new (and limited) arbitration process that applies to the new gTLDs. more»

Trademark Owners' Rights to Corresponding Earlier Registered Domain Names

As I pointed out in last week's essay, having trademark rights that come into existence later than registrations of corresponding domain names only gets complainants to first base; they have standing but no actionable claim. I also noted a nuance (not a difference in substance) in standing requirements between the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). However, standing depends upon the specific facts of the case... more»

Quintessential and Other Acts of Bad Faith in Acquiring Domain Names

There are two essential differences between the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), one procedural and one substantive. The procedural difference is quite minor, a mere quirk that Panels adopted by consensus in the early days of the UDRP and deserves no more than a footnote. Under the UDRP, complainants have standing on proof that they have trademark rights when they file their complaints... more»

ICANN Fails Consumers (Again)

In its bid to be free of U.S. government oversight ICANN is leaning on the global multistakeholder community as proof positive that its policy-making comes from the ground up. ICANN's recent response to three U.S. senators invokes the input of "end users from all over the world" as a way of explaining how the organization is driven. Regardless of the invocation of the end user (and it must be instinct) ICANN cannot seem to help reaching back and slapping that end user across the face. more»

No Barrier to Reading Across the Dot with New TLDs and Trademark Infringements

Even before the introduction of new top level domains in 2014, Panels had grappled with the before and after the dot issue with country code suffixes. The traditional procedure is to compare the characters of the accused domain names with the characters of trademarks for identity or confusing similarity. But this did not exclude the possibility of reading across the dot. more»

U.S. Congressional Trademark Caucus Haggles Over Price

It was standing-room-only at the Congressional Trademark Caucus session in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, April 6. The topic, brand protection in the new top level internet domain names, is still, it seems, a draw. With nearly two years' experience and statistical evidence of far fewer problems at far lower costs to brand owners than opponents of the program said would occur, it might be expected that the tone would cool. But the price of peace, I guess, remains eternal vigilance. more»

Problems With the Burr-Feinstein Bill

What appears to be a leaked copy of the Burr-Feinstein on encryption back doors. Crypto issues aside -- I and my co-authors have written on those before -- this bill has many other disturbing features. (Note: I've heard a rumor that this is an old version. If so, I'll update this post as necessary when something is actually introduced.) One of the more amazing oddities is that the bill's definition of "communications" (page 6, line 10) includes "oral communication", as defined in 18 USC 2510. more»

Running the Gamut: Commentary, Criticism, Tarnishment, Disparagement, and Defamation

The two bookends of speaking one's mind are commentary and criticism, which is indisputably acceptable as protected speech, and (in order of abuse) tarnishment and disparagement. Defamation, which is a stage beyond disparagement, is not actionable under the UDRP, although tarnishment and disparagement may be. In ICANN's lexicon, tarnishment is limited in meaning to "acts done with intent to commercially gain" (Second Staff Report, October 24, 2009, footnote 2). more»

Government-Industry Collaboration Is Better than Developing a Surveillance State

President Obama, in March 2016, again stressed the need for better collaboration between the tech industry and the government. He referred to his own White House initiative - this has resulted in the newly-formed US Digital Service, which is trying to recruit the tech industry to work with and for government. One of the key reasons it is so difficult to establish trustworthy, good working relationships is the extreme lack of tech understanding among most politicians and government bureaucrats. more»

News Briefs

PirateBay Domains to Be Handed over to the State, Swedish Court Rules

Brazil Judge Orders 72-Hour Ban on WhatsApp

U.S. House of Representatives Passes H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act

H.R. 2666 Bill Proposes Deregulating U.S. Broadband Rates, Obama Threatens to Veto

White House Taking Hands-Off Approach to Encryption Bill Debate

UK's Proposed Spy Law Can Force Apple to Bypass Security, Plus a Gag Order

Internet Society Responds to FBI vs Apple Encryption Debate

US Senate Gives Final OK to Ban Internet Taxes

Proposed UK Bill Will Make it Criminal Offence for Tech Firms to Warn Users of Government Spying

U.S. Senators Introduce SEC Cybersecurity Disclosure Legislation

French Police Pushing to Outlaw Anonymous Web Browsing

New Bill Bans Internet Companies From Offering Unbreakable Encryption

European Court Invalidates EU-US Data Pact

EU Launches Inquiry on Whether Online Companies Should be Regulated

Google Ordered to Remove Search Results of 'Right to Be Forgotten' Removal Stories

Newly Released "Domain Name Arbitration" Book Offers Guide for Navigating UDRP

ICANN Asks U.S. Federal Trade Commission Whether .SUCK is Violating Any Laws

Canadian Regulator CRTC Issues $1.1 Million Penalty to Compu-Finder for Spamming

Google Shutting Down Engineering Office in Russia Amid Tighter Data Law

European Parliament Backs Resolution to Break Up Search Giant

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