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Archive | 2016

Fair and Unfair Publishing Contracts: [How] Can Authors Protect Their Rights

Introduction: In the United States authors’ rights to enjoy the fruits of their labor are protected by the Constitution: “The Congress shall have power . . . to  promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors the exclusive right to their respective writings.” This Constitutional grant or legislative […]

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Using 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 […]

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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, […]

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Appearing Respondents Called Out as Cybersquatters

UDRP complainants prevail in the range of 85% to 90% which approximately correlates with the percentage that respondents default in responding to complaints. The annual number of complaints administered by ICANN providers has been hovering around 4,000 +. Astonishingly, the number has remained steady for a good number of years despite the phenomenal increase in […]

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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: “On the contrary, the […]

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UDRP Standing: Proving Unregistered Trademark Rights

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy is a nonexclusive 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 […]

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Certifying to Merit and Proper Purpose in Alleging and Defending Cybersquatting Claims

Parties to a UDRP proceeding must include a certification similar in U.S. practice to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (and undoubtedly a feature in procedural codes in other judicial jurisdictions) “that the information contained in this [Complaint or Response] is to the best of [Complainant’s or Respondent’s] knowledge complete and accurate, […]

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Corresponding to Trademarks, But Nonactionable Claims for Cybersquatting

The threshold for an actionable claim under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a trademark in which complainant has rights.” “Rights” means a trademark that could have been newly minted a moment before filing the complaint. This is different from the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) in which trademark owners must have […]

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The Importance of Protecting Credibility: Claiming and Rebutting Cybersquatting

The UDRP is an online dispute resolution regime. While panelists technically have discretion under Rule 13 to hold in-person hearings if they “determine[ ] . . .  and as an exceptional matter, that such a hearing is necessary for deciding the complaint” no in-person hearing has ever been held. Rule 13 exists to be ignored. […]

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Supplementing the Record in UDRP Proceedings; When Acceptable?

The UDRP limits parties’ submissions to complaints and responses; accepting “further statements or documents” is discretionary with the Panel (Rule 12, Procedural Orders), although the Forum (in Supplemental Rule 7) but not WIPO provides for supplementing the record with the proviso that “[a]dditional submissions must not amend the Complaint or Response.” For some panelists, Rule […]

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Noncommercial and Fair Use in Rebutting Claims for Abusive Registration of Domain Names

The UDRP lists three nonexclusive circumstances for rebutting lack of rights or legitimate interests in domain names, which if successful also concludes the issue of abusive registration in respondent’s favor. The third circumstance is “you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert […]

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Filing Cybersquatting Complaints With No Actionable Claims

I noted in last week’s essay three kinds of cybersquatting complaints typically filed under ICANN’S Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The third (utterly meritless) kind are also filed in federal court under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). While sanctions for reverse domain name hijacking are available in both regimes, the UDRP’s is […]

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Three Kinds of UDRP Disputes and Their Outcomes

There are three kinds of udrp disputes, those that are out-and-out cybersquatting, those that are truly contested, and those that are flat-out overreaching by trademark owners. In the first group are the plain vanilla disputes; sometimes identical with new tlds extensions (mckinsey.careers> and <legogames.online>); sometimes typosquatting (<joneslang lassale.com> and <wiikipedia.org>) ; and other times registering […]

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Getting it Right the First Time; Second Chance With New Facts

UDRP complainants are expected to get it right the first time, and if they don’t there’s a narrow window for a second filing. Evidence previously available but overlooked will not support a new complaint, although this does not preclude the possibility of one being accepted on evidence of new facts. In Haru Holding Corporation v. […]

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Masking Identity with Proxy/Privacy Services

No censure attaches to having domain names registered by proxy/privacy services. However, while the practice has become routine for protecting privacy and sensitive information, registering in the name of a proxy is still taken into account in assessing intention, and even circumstantial evidence without contradiction or explanation can tip the scale in complainant’s favor. Registrations […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. I’ll return to the UDRP in a moment. The relevant provision in the ACPA (15 U.S.C. §1125(d)(1)(B)(ii)) reads: Bad faith intent […]

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Losing and Reclaiming Domain Names

For registrants who are not trademark owners losing their domain names can be an irretrievable loss; and for trademark owners, perhaps not irretrievable but fraught with uncertainties of recovery. ICANN attempted to solve the problem of inadvertent lapses of registration in the Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP) and its companion the Expired Domain Name Deletion […]

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