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It's Official: 2016 Was a Record Year for Domain Name Disputes

As I predicted more than three months ago, 2016 turned out to be a record year for domain name disputes, including under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). That's according to statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the only UDRP service provider that publishes real-time data on domain name disputes. WIPO's statistics show 3,022 cases in 2016 -- an increase of almost 10 percent from 2015. The previous most-active year for domain name disputes was 2012... more»

Using Domain Name Privacy/Proxy Services Lawfully or to Hide Contact Information and Identity

Privacy/proxy services carry no per se stigma of nefarious purpose, although when first introduced circa 2006 there was some skepticism they could enable cybersquatting and panelists expressed different views in weighing the legitimacy for their use. Some Panels found high volume registrants responsible for registering domain-name-incorporating trademarks. Others rejected the distinction between high and low volume as a determining factor. more»

Here's the Largest URS Complaint Ever Filed

A complaint under the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) may -- like the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) -- include more than one domain name, but few URS complaints have done so. Now, one new URS case just changed everything. In the largest URS case ever filed, an expert at the Forum ordered the suspension of 474 domain names in a single proceeding. more»

You Cannot Tell Your Customers to 'Shut Up' Anymore - Consumer Review Fairness Act Signed Into Law

Bad idea: Set up a business and provide poor goods or services; receive bad reviews online for your poor goods or services. Worse idea: Instead of treating your customers' feedback as free expert advice and listening to their suggestions on how to improve your business, sue your customers -- experience the Streisand Effect -- resulting in increased media coverage highlighting your lousy goods, service, and treatment of customers. Ensure that negatives reviews of your business get the widest exposure possible. more»

Good Faith and Abusive Registration of Domain Names

Not all domain names identical or confusingly similar to trademarks are actionable. Exhibit 1 are complainants whose trademarks postdate domain name registration. The latest example of this is Insight Energy Ventures LLC v. Alois Muehlberger, L.M.Berger Co.Ltd., D2016-2010 (WIPO December 12, 2016) (<powerly.com>) but there are other, more esoteric examples such as loss by genericide, Shop Vac Corporation v. Md Oliul Alam / Quick Rank, FA1611001701026 (Forum December 10, 2016). more»

All About the Copyright Office's New DMCA System

Website publishers that want to protect themselves against claims of copyright infringement must participate in a new online registration system created by the U.S. Copyright Office for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") -- even if they have participated previously. The new program, launched on December 1, 2016, offers a mandatory online registration system for the DMCA that replaces the original (and clunky) "interim" designation system, which was created in 1998. more»

Likely and Behind the Scenes Changes at the FCC

It should come as no surprise that the Federal Communications Commission will substantially change its regulatory approach, wingspan and philosophy under a Trump appointed Chairman. One can readily predict that the new FCC will largely undo what has transpired in previous years. However, that conclusion warrants greater calibration. more»

Excessive Offers to Sell Domain Names: Evidence of Bad Faith or Bona Fide Business Practice?

Not infrequently heard in domain name disputes are cries of shock and gnashing of teeth that domain name holders may lawfully offer their inventory at excessive prices. Take for example TOBAM v. M. Thestrup / Best Identity, D2016-1990 (WIPO November 21, 2016) (<tobam.com>). Respondent accused Complainant of bullying which Complainant denied... more»

UDRP Standing: Proving Unregistered Trademark Rights

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy is a non-exclusive arbitral proceeding (alternative to a statutory action under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act) implemented for trademark rights' owners to challenge domain names allegedly registered for unlawful purposes. Policy, paragraph 4(a) states that a registrant is "required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third-party... more»

The Sharing Economy and Sec. 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act

The sharing economy is a challenge for local communities. On the good, it creates economic opportunity and reduces the price. On the bad, it circumvents public safety and welfare protection. Such is the clash between Airbnb and local jurisdictions. San Francisco implemented a local ordinance that permits short-term rentals on the condition that the rental property is registered. In order to register the property, the resident must provide proof of liability insurance... more»