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Trademarks and Domain Names Composed of Common Terms

The lexical material from which trademarks are formed is drawn from the same social and cultural resources available to everyone else, which includes domain name registrants. Since trademarks are essentially a form of communication, it is unsurprising that a good number of them are composed of common terms (dictionary words, descriptive phrases, and shared expressions) that others may lawfully use for their own purposes. more»

How Long Does a URS Case Take?

The Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) -- which allows a trademark owner to suspend certain domain names, especially those in the "new" gTLDs -- was designed as a quicker and less-expensive alternative to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). As I've written frequently before, there are significant differences between the URS and the UDRP. One of those differences is how long a typical proceeding lasts. more»

Is Call Forwarding an "Information Service" and Why It Matters for FTC Jurisdiction

Time to brush the dust off your Computer II notebooks. Are voicemail, electronic fax, and call forwarding enhanced services or telecom services? Today's case: FTC v. American eVoice, Ltd... The FTC brought an action against Defendants claiming that they were engaged in cramming, adding unwanted voicemail, electronic fax, and call forwarding services to consumers bills to the tune of $70 million. more»

How Long Does a UDRP Case Take?

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was designed as a quicker and less-expensive alternative to litigation. Although the UDRP policy and rules provide strict timelines for various stages of a UDRP case, how quickly a dispute is actually resolved can vary based on numerous factors. A typical UDRP case results in a decision in about two months, but the facts of each case -- including actions both within and outside the control of the parties -- may shorten or extend that timing. more»

Sanctionable Conduct for Abusing the UDRP Process

To claim a superior right to a string of characters mark owners must (first) have priority (unregistered or registered) in using the mark in commerce; and secondly, have a mark strong enough to rebut any counter argument of registrant's right or legitimate interest in the string. A steady (albeit small) number of owners continue to believe it's outrageous for registrants to hold domain names earlier registered than their trademarks and be permitted to extort amounts far "in excess of [their] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name." 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»

Early Disclosure of UDRP Complaints

Under the previous rules for the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), domain name registrants that had a complaint filed against them were supposed to be notified of the complaint by the trademark owner that filed it. Then, a revised set of UDRP rules that went into effect in 2015 eliminated the complainant's obligation to notify the respondent. Instead, the new rules only require the UDRP service provider (such as WIPO or the Forum) notify the respondent, presumably after the registrar has locked the domain name, preventing any transfers. more»

Large Companies (Un?)knowingly Hire Spammers

This morning, CSO and MacKeeper published joint articles on a massive data leak from a marketing company. This company, River City Media (RCM), failed to put a password on their online backups sometime. This leaked all of the company's data out to the Internet at large. MacKeeper Security Researcher, Chris Vickery discovered the breach back in December and shared the information with Spamhaus and CSO online. The group has spent months going through the data from this spammer. more»

Healthy Domains Revisited: The Pharmaceutical Industry

Users scored an exciting victory over copyright-based censorship last month, when the Domain Name Association (DNA) and the Public Interest Registry (PIR), in response to criticism from EFF, both abruptly withdrew their proposals for a new compulsory arbitration system to confiscate domain names of websites accused of copyright infringement. But copyright enforcement was only one limb of the the DNA's set of Registry/Registrar Healthy Practices. 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»

Diversity of View or Unacceptable Inconsistency in the Application of UDRP Law

The general run of Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (UDRP) decisions are unremarkable. At their least, they are primarily instructive in establishing the metes and bounds of lawful registration of domain names. A few decisions stand out for their acuity of reasoning and a few others for their lack of it. The latest candidate of the latter class is NSK LTD. v. Li shuo, FA170100 1712449 (Forum February 16, 2017)... It is an example of inconsistency in the application of law. 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»

Timing Is All: Cybersquatting or Mark Owner Overreaching?

Admittedly, timing is not altogether "all" since there's a palette of factors that go into deciding unlawful registrations of domain names, and a decision as to whether a registrant is cybersquatting or a mark owner overreaching, is likely to include a number of them, but timing is nevertheless fundamental in determining the outcome. Was the mark in existence before the domain name was registered? Is complainant relying on an unregistered mark? What was complainant's reputation when the domain name was registered? What proof does complainant have that registrant had knowledge of its mark? Simply to have a mark is not conclusive of a right to the domain name. more»

Thoughts on the Proposed Copyright Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy

A proposal from the Domain Name Association (DNA) would provide copyright owners with a new tool to fight online infringement -- but the idea is, like other efforts to protect intellectual property rights on the Internet, proving controversial. The proposed Copyright Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy is one of four parts of the DNA's "Healthy Domains Initiative" (HDI). more»

Narcotics Traffic Is Not Part of a Healthy Domain System

A stack contrast is emerging within the DNS between providers who tolerate blatantly illegal domain use and those who do not. Our study, just published here focuses on five U.S.-based providers, their policies, and their response to reports of opioid traffic within their registry or registrar. There are many providers, not covered here, who removed hundreds of domains selling opioids and I applaud their efforts. more»

News Briefs

ISPs May Be Required to Remove Content, Shutdown Websites Under New EU-Wide Rules

Owner of .Feedback in Breach of Registry Agreement, Rules ICANN

New Cybersecurity Regulations in New York Go Into Effect

ICANN Drifting Toward Online Content Regulation, Says Law Professor

Los Angeles Court Rejects Demand for Preliminary Injunction Preventing ICANN Delegating .AFRICA

CADNA Returns to Lobby for Stronger Cybersquatting Laws

Ransomware Crime Bill Goes into Effect in the State of California

Google Begins Publicly Sharing National Security Letters

Court Dismisses .Web Lawsuit, Says Agreement Not to Sue Is Enforceable

US DMCA Rules Updated - Now Legal to Hack Devices, Cars, Video Games, If Done in 'Good Faith'

Controversial Chinese Cybersecurity Law Gets 3rd Reading

European Court Declares Dynamic IP Addresses are Subject to Privacy Protection Rules

UK Security Agencies Have Unlawfully Collected Data for 17 Years, Says Court

IP Address Information Misused by Authorities Says EFF, Not Enough to Justify Police Raids

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

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

ICANN Says It Will Not Get Directly Involved With Infringing Domains

China One Step Closer to Implementing Controversial Cybersecurity Law

GOP Lawmakers Say NTIA Violated Law in IANA Transition Plan

'Spam King' Sanford Wallace Sentenced to 2.5 Years In Prison

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