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Top 5 domain name stories of September 2012

October 1, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, go daddy, GoDaddy, iphone 5, reverse domain name hijacking, UncategorizedComments Off on Top 5 domain name stories of September 2012

Patents, the Go Daddy outage, and the French.

Here are the top five stories from Domain Name Wire last month, ranked based on page views.

Go Daddy patents “announcing a domain name registration on a social website” – Go Daddy got a patent on a way to announce your latest domain name registration on a social networking web site, such as Twitter. (And this post got a lot of traffic from Hacker News.)

On day of iPhone 5 announcement, iPhone5.com sits dark – despite recovering the iPhone5.com domain name well in advance of the launch, the domain name didn’t resolve until late in the day that Apple announced the new product.

City of Paris ordered to pay $100k for reverse domain name hijacking – Ville de Paris was ordered to pay over $100,000 in a reverse domain name hijacking case. Paris has applied for the .paris top level domain name. I am curious to see if the plaintiff’s lawyers try to recover money related to the new top level domain application.

Is this the world’s worst web site name? – It’s pretty bad. And the owner could have bought a good domain for only $1,000 or so.

Like I was saying… Go Daddy wasn’t hacked or attacked – some guy claiming to by a member of Anonymous hacked the media with his claims of hacking Go Daddy.


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WallStreet.com: panel rules reverse domain name hijacking

September 17, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, reverse domain name hijacking, udrp, wall-street.com, wallstreet.comComments Off on WallStreet.com: panel rules reverse domain name hijacking

Wall-Street.com blasted for its attempt to hijack WallStreet.com domain name.

A three person World Intellectual Property Organization panel has found Wall-Street.com, LLC guilty of reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name WallStreet.com.

Wall-Street.com based much of its UDRP case against WallStreet.com on some relatively recent transfers of the domain name, which it said were new registrations. However, it turns out the domain name has essentially been held by the same party since 2001.

From the outset, any attempt to get a descriptive, seven figure domain name like WallStreet.com through UDRP reeks of reverse domain name hijacking.

But in this case it’s particularly bad. After filing the UDRP, Wall-Street.com emailed the owners of WallStreet.com with this message:

“It was a joint decision to file the UDRP on behalf of Wall-Street.com. The reason for the filing is simple, we needed to accelerate the process of coming to a settlement on how we can work together on the Wall Street Package.”

In other words, we’re going to bully you to the table.

That’s certainly not using the UDRP in good faith.


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City of Paris ordered to pay $100k for reverse domain name hijacking

September 17, 2012.paris, Domaining, Domainnamewire, parvi.org, Policy & Law, reverse domain name hijacking, udrp, ville de parisComments Off on City of Paris ordered to pay $100k for reverse domain name hijacking

Paris guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, ordered to pay over $100,000.

A U.S. federal district court has ordered Ville de Paris (City of Paris) to pay $100,000 for reverse domain name hijacking and tortious interference.

Judge Melinda Harmon also ordered the city to pay $26,830 in attorney’s fees and costs.

The judgment stems from a UDRP the city of Paris filed against the owner of Parvi.org in 2009. In that case, panelist Andrew Christie decided to give the domain name to Paris despite determining that the domain name was not originally registered in bad faith.

The domain owner sued to stop the transfer. His lawsuit asked for a determination that he wasn’t cybersquatting and that Paris was attempting reverse domain name hijacking.

When Paris filed the UDRP with World Intellectual Property Organization it agreed to court jurisdiction in the location of the domain registrar, which was Texas. Yet, despite agreeing to this jurisdiction, the city decided not to show up to fight the charges. (This isn’t the first time Paris has run away from U.S. jurisdiction after picking a fight.)

The judge entered a default judgment against Ville de Paris. She issued the final judgment with damages on Friday.

This is the second Texas court I’m aware of that has awarded six figure damages for reverse domain name hijacking.

Will Parvi.org’s owner ever collect the judgment? It won’t be easy. But keep in mind that the defendant here is applying for the .paris top level domain name. It won’t be disqualified from getting the TLD just because it’s guilty of reverse domain name hijacking (the guidebook allows three such rulings before you’re disqualified). But it’s possible .paris will be an asset in the United States, which might give Parvi.org’s owner something to go after.

The plaintiff’s attorneys in the case were Travis Crabtree, Paul Keating, and John Berryhill.


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Nat Cohen wins reverse domain name hijacking charge against spa for SHA.com

August 3, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, nat cohen, Policy & Law, rdnh, reverse domain name hijacking, telepathy, udrpComments Off on Nat Cohen wins reverse domain name hijacking charge against spa for SHA.com

Spanish spa and wellness center brought UDRP in bad faith.

Nat Cohen’s Telepathy has successfully defended the domain name Sha.com from an attack by Albir Hills Resort, S.A., known as SHA Wellness Clinic.

The panel also determined that SHA Wellness Clinic was guilty of attempting reverse domain name hijacking.

I’ve got to say, this was a no brainer for the three person panel.

First, SHA’s attorney said the resort had been “operating in the market for 15 years”. But the evidence showed otherwise, at least for the SHA Wellness Clinic. In fact:

The Complainant states that, after the creation of the SHA Wellness Clinic, the Complainant noticed that the disputed domain name sha.com was already registered; the Complainant thus attempted to purchase it from the Respondent, but, since the Respondent had requested an “exaggerated offer”, the Complainant opted for filing this Complaint.

That’s a good way of admitting that the domain was registered before you were in business.

SHA’s lawyer even said that the company tried to negotiate for the domain name, but since the price of the domain was high it opted to file the dispute.

I also appreciate this line from SHA’s attorney:

“the fact that the [Respondent’s] use is not real produces an obstruction act for my client, because the obvious and logical owner of the domain name is the owner of SHA. That, and furthermore the fact that there are no trademarks “SHA” owned by the respondent, implies a decrease of the reputation of my client’s trademarks”.

The “obvious and logical owner”??

If you’re wondering why Telepathy gets hit with so many UDRPs for three letter .com domains, it’s because it owns more than 1,000 of them.

Hopefully attorneys for other companies thinking about stealing three letter .com domains from Telepathy will do some research and figure out they’re wasting their money.


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Default judgement issued against Paris in domain fight, damages hearing on tap

July 13, 2012.paris, Domaining, Domainnamewire, lawsuits, Policy & Law, reverse domain name hijacking, ville de parisComments Off on Default judgement issued against Paris in domain fight, damages hearing on tap

Paris may face damages in reverse domain name hijacking case.

LoserA Texas district court has filed an entry of default against Ville de Paris in a domain name squabble.

The case involves Parvi.org. The city of Paris won a UDRP case for the domain name in 2009. When Paris filed the complaint it agreed to jurisdiction in Texas for matters stemming from the dispute.

Domain owner Jeffrey Walter took advantage of the jurisdiction, filing a lawsuit against Paris in U.S. District Court in Texas. Among his claims: reverse domain name hijacking, tortious interference, and conversion.

As Ville de Paris has done many times after challenging U.S. domain owners, it went AWOL as soon as it was challenged in U.S. court.

So now there’s a default judgment against Paris in a Texas court. The court has scheduled a hearing on September 14 to determine damages.

It’s worth noting that another Texas court awarded $100,000 in damages when DigiMedia won a reverse domain name hijacking case.

Could Walter ever collect a judgment?

It would be tough. But it’s worth noting that Ville de Paris is trying to enter into a contract with a U.S. company for the rights to run .paris.


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“If you don’t sell me your domain for $2,000, I’ll file a UDRP”

May 9, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, reverse domain name hijacking, udrpComments Off on “If you don’t sell me your domain for $2,000, I’ll file a UDRP”

Company that makes UDRP threat found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

“If you don’t sell me your domain for $2,000, I’ll file a UDRP against the domain name.”

That’s effectively what a United Kingdom company threatened against the owner of the domain name edgePOS.com, according to the findings of a recent UDRP decision.

John Henderson (Holdings) filed a UDRP complaint against Xiaodong Zhang of Austin, Texas, over the domain name. Zhang said he registered the domain name for a point of sale system before the complainant wanted to start using the term.

According to Zhang, the complainant communicated with him on March 19, 2012 to ask him to sell the Disputed Domain Name (again). Following the respondent’s refusal the complainant threatened to institute a UDRP if the Zhang did not agree to an “offer of $2000”.

Ouch.

Perhaps John Henderson Holdings should have read up on the UDRP before making this claim. Its subsequent filing apparently lacked any support that Zhang registered and used the domain in bad faith.

Panelist Alistair Payne found in Zhang’s favor and also found John Henderson Holdings guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.


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This could have been reverse domain hijacking had the domain owner responded…

April 30, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, National Arbitration Forum, reverse domain name hijacking, udrp, UncategorizedComments Off on This could have been reverse domain hijacking had the domain owner responded…

Your comadre wouldn’t approve.

The National Arbitration Forum has found against Texas company Comadre Commerce, LLC in arbitration over the domain name Comadre.com.

This is despite the owner of the domain name not responding. Had the owner responded, this case could have been an easy case of reverse domain name hijacking.

First things first, comadre is a generic term meaning “godmother” in Spanish.

Second, Comadre Commerce said it had a trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But it only attached a printout from the USPTO concerning a Trademark Office Action Response. Here’s why: it really just has pending application that was filed after the respondent registered the domain — and it was filed as an intent to use application. So there’s no way the complainant could argue that the respondent registered the domain name in bad faith. It tried anyway.

The complainant also claimed that it made several reasonable offers to the domain owner, which the owner denied or ignored.

There’s also the puzzling assertion that (in the panelist’s words) “Respondent’s unauthorized use of Complainant’s image on Respondent’s various websites constitutes copyright and trademark infringement in violation of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 106(a) of the Copyright Act of 1976.”

Given that the complainant tried to buy the domain name multiple times and the domain was registered prior to its intent-to-use trademark filing and it’s a generic term and the Comadre Commerce was represented by counsel, I’d argue this is a clear case of reverse domain name hijacking.


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Frank Schilling and John Berryhill team up to get RDNH decision

December 8, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, Frank Schilling, John Berryhill, Policy & Law, rdnh, reverse domain name hijackingComments Off on Frank Schilling and John Berryhill team up to get RDNH decision

Company files dispute for UDRP in bad faith.

Frank Schilling, with the help of attorney John Berryhill, has convinced a UDRP panel that AINS, INC is guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in a dispute over eCase.com.

AINS, Inc has a trademark for “ecase” for its software for workflow and case management. It claimed a first use in commerce date of 2009 on its trademark application.

Schilling acquired the domain name eCase.com in 2002, so the case had no chance of succeeding.

So AINS’ attorney Janice W. Housey of Symbus Law Group, LLC claimed that each time the domain was renewed the domain was a “renewal in bad faith”. It’s ridiculous, but she made another mistake that made it even more troublesome: she neglected to show that the domain was renewed after AINS got its trademark rights.

Making matters worse, it appears that an employee of AINS sent a misleading communication to Schilling in an effort to buy the domain. According to the case, AINS’ Director of Business Development and Vice President of Sales sent an inquiry that read:

“Due to today’s economy, I am starting a home business. I am interested in your domain name as it is a good fit for services I want to provide, and am able to propose $1,500 for the rights to the name. I can be reached via my home email . . .”

Berryhill noted that this is “a willfully false communication by interstate or international electronic means originating in the United States, for the purpose of obtaining a thing of value on false pretenses, i.e. “wire fraud” under the relevant federal criminal statute:18 USC § 1343.”.

It didn’t help that the attorney also sent a couple inquiries to Schilling’s company without identifying herself.

The three person panel found against AINS and that AINS was guilty of filing its case under the policy in bad faith, i.e. reverse domain name hijacking.


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Law Firm Found Guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking After Filing “Astonishing” Case

July 14, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, reverse domain name hijacking, tony willoughby, udrpComments Off on Law Firm Found Guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking After Filing “Astonishing” Case

Law firm files “baseless” case to get four letter domain name.

I really hope a new law firm that seeks to “break with routine thinking in the legal industry” doesn’t have an intellectual property practice.

Denmark lawfirm IUNO Advokatpartnerselskab has lost a UDRP for the IUNO.com and has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

The domain name was registered in 2000; the law firm just opened its doors this year.

Panelist Tony Willoughby had some harsh words for IUNO.

In formulating the Complaint the Complainant has fallen into serious error.

The Complainant appears to have taken the view that registering a domain name for the purpose of selling it is of itself in some way reprehensible, when of course it is not (at least absent an intent to sell the owner of an identical or confusingly similar trademark, or a competitor thereof). There is a lawful trade in domain names running into millions of dollars per annum. If the Panel has understood the Complainant’s evidence correctly, it appears that when the Complainant attempted to purchase the Domain Name online, the price demanded for the Domain Name increased from about USD 10,000 to USD 50,000. No doubt, when the Complainant disclosed its identity, the Respondent appreciated that a higher sum could be demanded of an entity having a name identical to the Domain Name. Whatever the reason, there is nothing to demonstrate that this is behaviour meriting a finding of bad faith under the Policy. Pricing a domain name at the highest level the registrant believes it can encourage a purchaser to pay is not of itself objectionable absent evidence of targeting a particular trademark owner.

Responding to the domain owner’s allegation of reverse domain name hijacking, IUNO responded that:

…the Complainant seeks to stress the fact that the Complaint is not an aggressive attempt to obtain what is potentially a valuable name for its new business. The Complainant genuinely finds that the Respondent has no legal rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and only holds it passively, now with the purpose of selling it to the Complainant for an amount in excess of out-of-pocket expenses.

Um, OK.

Willoughby concludes that IUNO either brought the case in bad faith or is inept:

The Complainant is a law firm and the Panel finds it difficult to believe that a law firm would intentionally set out to abuse the process in this way. Equally, the Panel finds it astonishing that a law firm could produce such a fundamentally flawed Complaint.

I particularly appreciate how he spells out the exact hardships IUNO brought on the domain owner by filing the case:

(b) ought to have been aware that to launch it in this form would put the Respondent to unnecessary and irrecoverable expense;

(c) ought to have been aware that false allegations of bad faith necessarily give rise to concern and distress on the part of the person falsely accused;

(d) ought to have been aware that if the Complainant had succeeded, the Respondent would have been wrongfully deprived of the Domain Name.


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Scott Day’s DigiMedia Wins Reverse Domain Hijacking Charge

February 14, 2011digimedia, Domaining, Domainnamewire, John Berryhill, Policy & Law, reverse domain name hijacking, scott dayComments Off on Scott Day’s DigiMedia Wins Reverse Domain Hijacking Charge

WIPO panel finds complaint against DigiMedia.com was brought in bad faith.

Legendary domain name investor Scott Day’s company DigiMedia.com has won a charge of reverse domain name hijacking against a Dubai company.

Prime Pictures LLC filed the case in an attempt to get the domain name CinemaCity.com.

But DigiMedia.com had registered the domain name way back in 1998, about 7 years before the complainant used “CinemaCity” in commerce. That clearly means the domain name wasn’t registered in an attempt to harm the complainant.

The three person World Intellectual Property Forum panel found Prime Pictures guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, saying its counsel should have been aware that its case was doomed before it even began.

In the present case, the Complaint correctly identified that the Domain Name was registered in 1998. Given that the earliest date of any registration or use of the mark relied upon in the Complaint was in 2005, the registration of the Domain Name could not have been in bad faith on any interpretation of the facts and cases cited in the Complaint.

The Complainant is represented in this proceeding by legal counsel who has evidently examined the UDRP and a number of cases decided under it, which are cited in the Complaint. Any reasonable investigation would have revealed that there was a fundamental weakness in the Complainant’s case, in that there was no basis in the Complaint and cases cited therein for alleging that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith.

DigiMedia.com was represented by John Berryhill.


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