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Nintendo 1-Ups for Popular SuperMario.com Web Site

August 9, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, nintendo, Policy & Law, super mario, world intellectual property forumComments Off on Nintendo 1-Ups for Popular SuperMario.com Web Site

Nintendo wants to lay claim to high traffic web site.

Nintendo marioDecades after bringing the iconic video game character Mario and the Super Mario series to millions of gamers, Nintendo has decided it wants the domain name SuperMario.com.

The company just filed a complaint with World Intellectual Property Forum to get the domain name.

Nintendo may be concerned about the content of the site, which is a collection of online Super Mario games. The site gets a whopping 200,000 visits a month according to Compete.

But the timing is curious given that the content of the site has remained unchanged for over a year.

Of course, Nintendo continues to release Mario games and plans to release Super Mario 3D Land on its new 3DS system later this year.

Even if the company wins the case for SuperMario.com, it already has a typosquatter to contend with: wwwSuperMario.com (without the dot after www) is already registered and parked.


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Apple Goes After High Traffic iTunes Typo Domain Names

August 5, 2011apple, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, world intellectual property forumComments Off on Apple Goes After High Traffic iTunes Typo Domain Names

Apple asks arbitration panel to give it typo domain names.

Apple has filed a dispute with World Intellectual Property Forum over two high traffic typos of iTunes.com.

The complaint covers wwiTunes.com and wwwiTunes.com, both of which take advantage fat fingered web surfers who still insist on typing “www” before domain names.

Compete.com shows that wwwiTunes.com gets thousands of unique typo visitors a month.

Although the domains get traffic, Apple customers can’t do much at iTunes.com itself. It’s basically a site to download the iTunes software, which is then used to access the store.

The domain names are both owned by Alaskan company Grand Slam Co according to whois records. The domains don’t resolve now but have forwarded to an online sportsbook in the past.

This is the fifth case Apple has filed with World Intellectual Property Forum this year. It has won all of the cases, most recently for iPods.com.


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Wikipedia Takes Down Web Hosting Site

August 3, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, wikimedia, wikipedia, world intellectual property forumComments Off on Wikipedia Takes Down Web Hosting Site

Wikimedia wins dispute over web hosting comparison site.

WikipediaWikipedia owner Wikimedia Foundation Inc. has won a case against the owner of WebhostingWikipedia.com, which will be transferred to Wikimedia as a result.

From reading the case decision, it’s fairly clear the owner of the web hosting comparison site at WebhostingWikipedia.com had no idea that Wikipedia was a trademark.

So let’s be clear: the generic term is wiki. Wikipedia is a specific site.

If you want to create a site similar to this, WebhostingWiki.com would be OK. (It’s already registered.)

The case was filed at World Intellectual Property Forum. Wikimedia has filed nine cases with the outfit and hasn’t lost yet. Some of its other wins are SoftwareWikipedia.com and IndiaWikipedia.com.


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Walmart Challenges Non-Profit Over OurWalmart.org Domain Name

July 21, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, our walmart, outwalmart.com, Policy & Law, udrp, world intellectual property forumComments Off on Walmart Challenges Non-Profit Over OurWalmart.org Domain Name

Company files dispute to get OURWalmart.com domain name.

[UPDATE: The original story said the case was against OURWalmart.com. It was actually against OurWalmart.org, which is indeed owned bye the non-profit. Additionally, WIPO has handed down a decision in favor of Wal-Mart. The story has been corrected.]

Walmart has started a fight with non-profit OUR Walmart over the domain name OurWalmart.org.

OUR Walmart, which stands for “Organization United for Respect at Walmart”, is a non-profit organization representing hourly workers at Walmart who apparently aren’t that satisfied to have jobs.

The organization’s web site is ForRespect.org, but the domain name OurWalmart.org forwards to the domain name.

Walmart has filed a dispute with World Intellectual Property Forum asking for the domain name to be handed over.

Although this may seem like a freedom of speech issue, that’s not how UDRP cases work. Many panelists only accept the freedom of speech argument if it’s clear before going to the domain name that it’s not owned by the trademark owner.

For example, before you visit CompanySucks.com, you’re pretty sure the company doesn’t own the site. But that’s not the case with OurCompany.com. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union owns WalmartWatch.com, which is another example of a domain that’s clear from the outset that it’s not owned by the company.


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Arbitration for Twitter Typo Twiter.com Terminated, Then Refiled

July 17, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, twiter.com, world intellectual property forumComments Off on Arbitration for Twitter Typo Twiter.com Terminated, Then Refiled

Massive Twitter.com typo case terminated, then refiled.

An arbitration case at World Intellectual Property forum over the domain name Twiter.com has been terminated, only for the company to file a second case.

Cases are typically terminated when the domain owner agrees to hand the domain name over to the complainant. In this case it appears the case may have been terminated and then refiled after the domain name registrar disclosed the owner of the domain name.

The Whois record for Twiter.com at the existing registrar (Power Brand Center) shows the owner as Panamanian company Geigo, Inc.

The domain still resolves to a CPA survey page made to look like Twitter.

The whois record is different from the one that’s been in place for a couple years, so this would appear to be a slam dunk UDRP for Twitter. It’s possible that Twitter refiled the case now that it has this (and other) new information that will make it easier to win the case.


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A First: Complainant Loses Case for .Co Domain Name

June 23, 2011.co, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, world intellectual property forumComments Off on A First: Complainant Loses Case for .Co Domain Name

Champagne.co becomes first .co domain name case won by respondent.

A complainant has finally lost a UDRP case for a .co domain name.

Comite Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne has lost the case it brought for the domain name Champagne.co.

The decision text hasn’t been posted yet, but this is the first time a complainant has lost a .co complaint at World Intellectual Property Forum since .co was liberalized last year. I’m not sure about National Arbitration Forum since it doesn’t break out cases by top level domain.

The complainant owns Champagne.com, which is forwards to Champagne.fr (unless you don’t type in www, in which case it goes to an Apache test page).

A saving grace for the domain owner may be that the domain didn’t resolve, so it didn’t point to ad links for Champagne (the drink). However, the whois stated the organization was “DotCo Investments”. My guess is this case hinges on Champagne being a location or geo domain.

Update: WIPO has posted the decision, and it’s more interesting than I thought. It seems that the panel questioned the complainant’s rights to the “champagne” mark. The respondent admitted he registered the domain name for the alcohol connotation, but said he didn’t think it was a trademark. The complainant tried to withdraw the case at the last minute, but the panelist declined. Ultimately, he ruled the complainant failed to show the domain is confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights.


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Atlas Shrugged Movie Producers Win 1, Lose 1

June 8, 2011atlas shrugged movie, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, udrp, world intellectual property forumComments Off on Atlas Shrugged Movie Producers Win 1, Lose 1

Same panelist. Similar domains. Different result, even on confusing similarity.

Atlas Shrugged MovieThe producers of the new Atlas Shrugged Movie filed two UDRP cases with World Intellectual Property Forum for essentially the same domains: AtlasShruggedMovie.com and AtlasShruggedMovies.com.

They lost the first one and won the second one.

Oh, and the same panelist (Richard G. Lyon) heard both cases. And decided them within a day of each other.

The facts in the cases differed slightly around the intent of the registrant and when the domains were registered, but I’m sure the movie producers are still puzzled.

The first issue in both cases was that the movie producer’s lawyers screwed up, according to Lyon. Loeb & Loeb, LLP claimed that the complainant had been assigned rights to Atlas Shrugged for movies back in 1992 but provided no evidence of this.

What’s interesting is that in the movieS case, Lyon found that the complainant had common law rights in the name because of its promotion expenditures. In the movie (singular) case Lyon said it wasn’t clear if the complainant had common law rights but that it didn’t matter since it failed on another aspect of the case.

So the same panelist rules in one case that the complainant has common law rights and in another that it is indeterminate. Hmm.

Beyond that, the big differences come down to the date of registration (2004 for Movie and 2009 for Movies) and what the person claimed they intended to do with the domains. The one that won registered his domain in 2004 and said he frequently critiques and satirizes commercials and movies. The domain owner that lost included porn links on the domain name and registered it in 2009. And the one that won hired a lawyer.

Lyon suggests that since movie plans for Atlas Shrugged weren’t widely known in 2004, the domain registrant of AtlasShruggedMovie.com did not specifically target it. He goes through a lengthy rationale, but I’m still surprised. I guess had I registered HarryPotterMovie.com shortly after the book came out, didn’t do anything with it, but didn’t offer it for sale, then I’d be OK.

This is just a bizarre pair of cases all around.


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National Arbitration Forum Gets The Headline Right

April 7, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, National Arbitration Forum, Policy & Law, udrp, world intellectual property forumComments Off on National Arbitration Forum Gets The Headline Right

UDRP filings up. That doesn’t mean cybersquatting is increasing.

Today National Arbitration Forum released statistics about its UDRP caseload from 2010. It was up 24% from 2009 to 2,177 cases.

The group’s press release headline is:

National Arbitration Forum Reports a 24 Percent Increase in Domain Name Dispute Filings in 2010

This is an accurate and factual statement.

Compare this to World Intellectual Property Forum’s headline when it released numbers last month:

Cybersquatting Hits Record Level

WIPO’s headline may or may not be true. But the group can’t come to this conclusion based on what it was really saying — UDRP filings at WIPO hit a record in 2010.

The truth is we don’t know if cybersquatting is up or if enforcement via UDRP is up.

Given that a UDRP case was filed in 2010 only once for every 40,000 domains registered, we’re talking about a very small sample.


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7S.com Owner Can Keep Domain Name Despite Andrew Christie’s Opinion

February 23, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, udrp, wipo, world intellectual property forumComments Off on 7S.com Owner Can Keep Domain Name Despite Andrew Christie’s Opinion

Activist UDRP panelist at it again in 7s.com case.

If you ever need to point a finger at UDRP panelists that are trying to pervert the entire system, one of those should be Andrew Christie.

I awarded Christie a “Domain Dunce” award in 2009 for his attempts to change the plain language and thousands of cases of precedent of UDRP. He did it by circularly referencing his own cases.

Now Christie is at it again in the case of 7s.com.

The owner of the domain name had a pretty solid defense against the complaint by 7(S) Personal GmbH.

- 7s.com didn’t file trademarks until 2000 and provided no evidence that it had common law trademark rights to ’7s’ predating that. But 7s.com’s owner registered the domain name in 1998, two years before that.

- In addition to registering 7s.com, the respondent registered a number of other short domains that included numbers in the same year: 8r.com, j4.com, 788.com, 889.com, 988.com, e88.com, e99.com. This suggests that he was registering lots of short domains like this and wasn’t targeting the German company. (After all, there’s no evidence in the case that the German company even existed in 1998!)

- The domain owner had forwarded the domain to one of his sites (geometry.net) for several years after registering it.

- It’s a generic domain name

The majority of the panel found that the domain owner had rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.

But not Andrew Christie. He wrote a dissent:

…Where a domain name is used simply to point to a website, I believe there needs to be some semantic relationship between the domain name and the website for that use to be bona fide. To hold otherwise would mean that pointing a domain name to any website – including to a website completely unrelated, in a semantic sense, to the domain name – will trigger a right or legitimate interest in the domain name. In my view, that type of use is not sufficient to give rise to a right or legitimate interest in a domain name. It is not a bona fide use; rather it is an arbitrary use…

But another panelist gave a great rebuttal to Christie. David E. Sorkin wrote:

I concur in the majority’s decision. I agree with the view expressed in the dissenting opinion that an arbitrary use of a domain name normally does not create rights or legitimate interests. In this case, however, we are presented with such use of the disputed domain name over a long period of time, together with the paucity of evidence that the use was pretextual or otherwise illegitimate. (The Respondent need not show that it has developed trademark rights in the domain name, but merely that the Complainant has failed to prove that the Respondent has developed any sort of rights or legitimate interests in the name). Furthermore, there is no indication whatsoever that the Respondent’s selection of the domain name was motivated in any way by or targeted at the Complainant or its mark. I therefore conclude that the Complainant has failed to meet its burden of proving the requirements set forth in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.


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UDRP Cases Spike in 2010

February 9, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, National Arbitration Forum, Policy & Law, udrp, world intellectual property forumComments Off on UDRP Cases Spike in 2010

Number of cases filed in 2010 increases thanks largely to brand protection services.

The number of Uniform domain-name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)cases filed at the two largest arbitration providers increased over 25% in 2010 compared to 2009, a Domain Name Wire analysis shows.

However, the rate of filing defined as the number of cases divided by the number of registered domains remains near an all time low.

World Intellectual Property Forum handled 2,696 cases in 2010 compared to 2,107 cases in 2009 and 2,329 cases in 2008. This covers both gTLDs and country code domain names.

National Arbitration Forum handled 2,033 cases in 2010 according to unofficial numbers provided by UDRPSearch. The group handled 1,605 cases in 2009, the lowest number of cases since 2005.

The increase in cases can largely be attributed to third party trademark protection companies. For example, Lego filed over 100 cases in 2010 largely with the help of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services. The company is going after low value domains such as lego-toys.info that are selling Lego products.

Cybersquatting protection company CitizenHawk filed over 200 cases last year. Many of its filings were “form” filings with little changed information from one to the next. In fact, multiple panelists chastised the company for inaccuracies in its filings.

Despite the overall increase in filings at the two largest UDRP providers, the number of cases filed compared to total domains registered continues to remain low. Comparing total cases at these two providers to the number of .com domains registered, there’s about 1 UDRP case filed each year per 19,300 domains registered. Only one year since 2000 have rates been lower, and that was 2009.


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