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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»

Internet Governance Outlook 2017: Nationalistic Hierarchies vs. Multistakeholder Networks?

Two events, which made headlines in the digital world in 2016, will probably frame the Internet Governance Agenda for 2017. October 1, 2016, the US government confirmed the IANA Stewardship transition to the global multistakeholder community. November 2, 2016, the Chinese government announced the adoption of a new cybersecurity law which will enter into force on July 1, 2017. 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»

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

"Judge Percy Anderson of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California has granted ICANN's motion to dismiss in a lawsuit brought by a subsidiary of new TLD company Donuts," reports Andrew Allemann in Domain Name Wire. 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»

The Future of Software Patents

What should we do with software patents? I've seen both sides of the debate, as I work a great deal in the context of standards bodies (particularly the IETF), where software patents have impeded progress on a community-driven (and/or community-usable) standard. On the other hand, I have been listed as a co-inventor on at least 40 software patents across more than twenty years of work, and have a number of software patents either filed or in the process of being filed. more»

When 'Confusing Similarity' in UDRP Cases Gets Confusing

The first element of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) requires a complainant to prove that the disputed domain name "is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights." It's unusual for a complainant to fail on this first of three prongs, but one recent case demonstrates just how uncertain the UDRP can be sometimes. more»

Cheers! Registries and Registrars Doing the Right Thing by Patients

Domain name registration is a hot industry. Registrars represent a growing multi-billion dollar industry with the keys to the Internet for any organization hoping to have a web presence. Further, because of their role as one of the gatekeepers to the Internet, registrars have the unique ability and are often asked to take action against illegal activity online. This fact was highlighted in the report released this week by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the 2015 Out-of-Cycle Notorious Markets List. more»

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»

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»

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»

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»

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

"U.S. Authorities Charge Owner of Most-Visited Illegal File-Sharing Website with Copyright Infringement" – statement issued by United States Department of Justice on Thursday: "U.S. authorities have charged the alleged owner of today's most visited illegal file-sharing website with criminal copyright infringement and have seized domain names associated with the website." more»

The DotBible Litmus Test for Domain Name Dispute Panelists

A dispute policy for the new '.bible' top-level domain name requires panelists who agree to hear cases to affirm that they "enthusiastically support the mission of American Bible Society" and that they "believe that the Bible is the Word of God which brings salvation through Christ." The DotBible Community Dispute Resolution Policy appears to be the first domain name dispute policy that requires panelists to take a religious oath - or, for that matter, an oath other than anything related to maintaining neutrality. 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»