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Trademark Overreaching and Faux Cybersquatting Claims

Trademarks can be strong in two ways: either inherently distinctive (arbitrary or fanciful marks), or composed of common elements that have acquired distinctiveness (descriptive or suggestive marks). Trademarks can also be weak in two ways: either composed of common elements, or lacking significant marketplace presence other than in their home territories. Panelists have seen them all, even by respondents alleging trademark rights registered later in time to complainant's. more»

Internet Access: A Chokepoint for Development

In the 1980's internet connectivity meant allowing general public to communicate and share knowledge and expertise with each other instantly and where it was not possible otherwise. Take the story of Anatoly Klyosov, connecting Russia to the western world for the first time in 1982, as an example. A bio-chemist who was not allowed to leave the soviet territory for security reasons. The internet enabled him to participate in meetings with his counterparts at Harvard University, University of Stockholm and beyond. more»

Challenging UDRP Awards in Courts of Competent Jurisdiction

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is not an exclusive forum for the resolution of domain names accused of cybersquatting even though registration agreements use the word "mandatory" in the event of third-party claims. The UDRP is mandatory only in the sense that respondents are "obliged by virtue of the [registration] agreement to recognize the validity of a proceeding initiated by a third-party claimant." more»

The Impact of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking on Supplemental Filings in UDRP Cases

In another blog post, I wrote about the sometimes confusing circumstances in which domain name dispute panelists will consider supplemental, or additional, filings from the parties (in addition to a complaint and response) in cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). I quoted the WIPO Overview, which states, in part, that supplemental filings may be appropriate where a party can "show its relevance to the case and why it was unable to provide that information in the complaint or response." more»

Reselling Domain Names on the Secondary Market: Bona Fide Offering, or Not?

On the question of reselling domain names on the secondary market, a dissenting panelist in a 2005 case observed that "[t]here is no doubt Respondent is in the business of being a reseller of domain names that consist of common English words" and then suggested that the "fundamental question before the Panel is whether or not such a business should be allowed under the UDRP." He concluded that such a business should not be allowed... more»

The Truth About Supplemental Filings in UDRP Cases

A typical proceeding under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) consists of a complaint and, sometimes, a response. UDRP Rule 12 makes clear that "further statements or documents from either of the Parties" are appropriate only if "the Panel... request[s], in its sole discretion." In practice, however, such supplemental or additional filings are not uncommon, with the leading UDRP service providers - WIPO and the Forum - issuing guidance about when they may be appropriate. 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»

Court of Appeals Avoids "Doomsday Effect" in Iran ccTLD Decision

Earlier today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued its decision in Weinstein vs. Iran, a case in which families of terror victims sought to have ICANN turn over control of Iran's .IR ccTLD to plaintiffs. In a unanimous decision the three judge panel stated, "On ICANN's motion, the district court quashed the writs, finding the data unattachable under District of Columbia (D.C.) law. We affirm the district court but on alternative grounds." 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»

Open Internet Access on the Line in Brussels

This summer EU regulators are finalizing their guidelines for member states on legal protections for wired, wireless and mobile open Internet access service. European citizens, businesses and NGOs have one last chance to make their voices heard on the so-called "net neutrality" guidelines by writing a comment for Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) by July 18. 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»

Cyber Infringement of Trademarks by Typosquatting

A fabled, serial cybersquatter of the early Internet argued that typographical errors in domain names were not cybersquatting at all because they had their own distinct identities. Moreover, "I have" (he argued) "just as much right to own the [misspelled] Domain Names as the person who owns the correct spelling of [a] domain name." That dispute involved and <wallstreet journel.com>. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and Dow Jones LP v. John Zuccarini, D2000-0578 (WIPO September 10, 2000). more»

News Briefs

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

US Seeks to Intervene in EU vs Facebook Case

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

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