Microsoft sues "cybersquatters" for infringement

Microsoft sues "cybersquatters" for infringement
Reuters

August 22, 2006

If Microsoft did go after someone like Google or Yahoo and said 'We're going to sue you because you are not being responsible enough for keeping that stuff out of there,' that's more going to the source By Daisuke Wakabayashi

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. said on Tuesday it has filed two lawsuits against so-called "cybersquatters" or "typosquatters" who use the company's product names to profit illegally from online advertising.

The world's largest software maker said the explosion in online advertising in recent years had given rise to the illegal registration of Web site domains containing trademark Microsoft phrases or common brand name misspellings.

With billing for the ads determined by number of clicks, such sites can drive up traffic and, ultimately, ad revenue.

The sites prey on the errors or ignorance of surfers who type in a non-Microsoft Web address like "freemsnhotmail.com" in search of a genuine Microsoft Hotmail e-mail account.


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XXX: A New Frontier for Cybersquatting?

INDUSTRY REPORT
XXX: A New Frontier for Cybersquatting?

By Keith Regan
E-Commerce Times
07/05/05 5:00 AM PT

"Let the unseemly cybersquatting begin," said Karen Whitehouse, an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)-watcher and author of the Weekend Geek blog. Though intended to make it easier to filter porn sites and keep people, especially children, from stumbling across them by accident, the upshot might be to force people and companies to register domains as a defensive move.

At first glance, the proposal to create a new cyberspace red light district with the .xxx domain seems a clear win for legitimate businesses.

The domain, which has been approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), could essentially segregate adult-content and pornography, moving it out of the .com realm where the vast majority of legitimate commerce takes place.

However, the arrival of .xxx could also create a new set of headaches for companies with high-profiles and carefully guarded brands and trademarks if so-called cyber-squatters revive the practice of grabbing domain names and essentially holding them hostage -- and with this domain, the threat of real embarrassment from an .xxx Web site using the company's name.

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Pre-emptive Action

Pre-emptive Action

2 June 2005 14:54 hours

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) says its time intellectual property rights protection extended further into the Internet.

WIPO is recommending "a uniform intellectual property (IP) protection mechanism" to control illegal domain name registrations in any new generic Top-Level Domains, said a statement issued by WIPO on Wednesday.
The main generic Top-Level Domains are websites that end with .com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, .org, .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro.

But more generic Top-Level Domains are on the way.

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Court Hears Falwell Web Domain Arguments

Court Hears Falwell Web Domain Arguments
Friday, May 27, 2005 - 01:20 AM

By LARRY O´DELL
Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va.
A Web site critical of the Rev. Jerry Falwell´s views on gays contains constitutionally protected, noncommercial speech and should be allowed to keep its name _ a common misspelling for the conservative evangelist, a lawyer for the site owner argued Thursday.

Christopher Lamparello of New York City, who operates fallwell.com, took his case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to reverse a federal judge´s ruling that he violated federal trademark law.

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Freeman scores cybersquat knockout

May 11, 2005, 12:51 PM PDT
Freeman scores cybersquat knockout

It's been a winning year for actor Morgan Freeman. First he nabbed a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in "Million Dollar Baby." Now he's triumphed in a cybersquatting battle over the Internet domain name www.morganfreeman.com.

Freeman, 67, complained that the name--registered by the company Mighty LLC--was being used to divert Internet traffic to a commercial search engine, according to the BBC News and other sources.

On Tuesday, independent arbitrator Peter Nitter backed the actor, ruling that Mighty LLC, in a "bad faith" move, misused Freeman's trademark to lure surfers to its website.

The ruling was announced by the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, a U.N. agency that promotes the protection of trademarks and patents.

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Wal-Mart’s Domain Name Battles

Wal-Mart’s Domain Name Battles

A recent decision by the WIPO Arbitration Center took the domain name walmartfacts.biz away from Jeff Milchen, a self-described Wal-Mart critic. The panel found that Milchen had "registered the name in bad faith," a term that has specific meaning under ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). According to Evan Brown:

In taking this "totality of the circumstances" approach, the panel considered four factors to find that the domain name was registered in bad faith. First, the respondent had not used the domain name to post content constituting fair use or any other legitimate purpose. Second, the respondent knew of Wal-Mart’s trademark rights when he registered the domain name in January of 2005. Third, the respondent’s "admitted animus" was an indication of actual malice and ill will toward Wal-Mart. Fourth, the use of the entire Wal-Mart trademark in the domain name made it difficult for users of the Internet to infer a legitimate use of the domain name by the respondent.


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Trademark doesn't guarantee Web name

Trademark doesn't guarantee Web name

Posted May 2, 2005

Question: Do I need to buy Internet domain names if I own a trademark?

Answer: A federal trademark gives ownership rights to that mark and similar confusing marks across the United States. However, just getting a federal trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not stop others from buying the domain name. Trademarks must be enforced by their owners. Domain names are basically addresses on the Web that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Conventional domain sellers such as www.godaddy.com and www.networksolutions.com sell domain names online for prices starting at less than $10 a year.

Once a trademark becomes well known and valuable, it is only a matter of time before the competitors, rip-off artists and even porn sites try to trade off that mark by using similar-sounding domain names to direct traffic to their Web sites. Until recently, the Web site www.whitehouse.com directed traffic to a porn site and not to the real White House in Washington, D.C.

It is clearly cheaper to purchase a domain name for less than $10 a year than it is to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a trademark lawsuit or a domain-dispute resolution case.

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WIPO publishes case book of domain name decisions

WIPO publishes case book of domain name decisions
By OUT-LAW.com
Published Friday 25th March 2005 12:00 GMT

The World Intellectual Property Organisation has published an overview of trends in its 7,000 domain name dispute decisions since 1999. It is, in effect, a free online case book about cybersquatting that can help parties to gauge their chances before action.

All decisions under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) – the guidelines for deciding most .com, .net and .org domain name disputes – have been available online for the past six years. But this is the first time that WIPO has compiled comprehensive guidance on how its panellists have interpreted the UDRP.

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Typosquatters

Top Marketing Ideas
By Kelly M. Slavitt

March 2005

Protecting Your Intellectual Property from Domain Name Typosquatters

Hijacking of domain names is an ongoing problem faced by companies. The fight to protect their trademarks from use by a third party of a confusingly similar misspelled domain name was forced on many companies, including the New York Stock Exchange, The Wall Street Journal, Paine Webber, Air France, Electronics Boutique and Disney. The fight to protect their trademarks from being used to divert users to competitors' Web sites was fought on the discount travel front by Air France, US Airways, Lufthansa, British Airways, Qantas Airlines, Alitalia Airways, Holiday Inn Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Marriott Hotels.

All of these companies stopped the third parties' use of their misspelled trademarks through either the United Nations Trademark and Copyright Agency WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization) or the U.S. courts. The risks of having to expend the time and money to do so can be minimized through the proactive steps of registration and monitoring.

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UN panel aims to end Internet tug of war

UN panel aims to end Internet tug of war
ITU vs. ICANN for control of Web, proposing solutions

Updated: 9:35 a.m. ET Feb. 22, 2005

GENEVA - A U.N.-sponsored panel aims to settle a long-running tug of war for control of the Internet by July and propose solutions to problems such as cyber crime and email spam, panel leaders said on Monday.

The panel, set up in December 2003, will lay groundwork for a final decision to be taken in Tunis in November at a U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society, where global control of the world wide web may be decided.

Right now, the most recognisable Internet governance body is a California-based non-profit company, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

But developing countries want an international body, such as the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to have control over governance -- from distributing Web site domains to fighting spam.

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WIPO receives 1,179 cases of cybersquatting in 2004

WIPO receives 1,179 cases of cybersquatting in 2004

www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-19 04:20:09


GENEVA, Feb. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced Friday that it received 1.179 cases of abusive registration of trademarks as domain names, or cybersquatting, in 2004.

It is a 6.6 percent increase over the number received the previous year, WIPO said in a press release.

WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center has handled a total of over 7,000 disputes, involving parties from 124 countries and covering over 12,500 domain names since the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) -- a quick and cost effective dispute resolution procedure -- went into effect in December 1999.

The UDRP, which was proposed by WIPO and has become accepted asan international standard for resolving domain name disputes, is designed specifically to discourage and resolve the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names.

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A New Direction at Google

A New Direction at Google
By BOB TEDESCHI

Published: February 7, 2005

AFTER Google disclosed last week that it had been granted the right to sell domain names, the question in many minds was, "Why?" Why would the company, which just reported click-advertising sales of more than $1 billion in the most recent quarter, compete in a relatively low-margin business with Network Solutions, Yahoo, GoDaddy and others? Would it use its new registrar status to snap up expired domains and show ads to wayward surfers? Is this a move toward Google world domination?

"In a few years you'll be driving your Google to the Google to buy some Google for your Google," read one posting on Slashdot, an online technology forum.

Eileen Rodriguez, a Google spokeswoman, hardly quelled the speculation by explaining that the whole thing was really a learning opportunity for the company. Google "has become a domain name registrar to learn more about the Internet's domain name system," she said recently in an e-mail message. "While we have no plans to register domains at this time, we believe this information can help us increase the quality of our search results."

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WebEx, Citrix in 'cybersquatting' suit

WebEx, Citrix in 'cybersquatting' suit

WebEx Communications, Inc. is accusing business rival Citrix Systems Inc. of so-called "cybersquatting," unfair competition and trademark infringement in a federal lawsuit filed in San Jose.


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Moomin Domain Transferred

WIPO strips Tokyo man of Moomin domain rights

GENEVA -- A Tokyo man who controlled the domain "moomin.com" has been stripped of his rights in favor of the Finnish company that owned the merchandising rights to the famous troll characters.

The World Intellectual Property Organization's Arbitration and Meditation Center ordered the Setagaya-ku man hand over the domain to Oy Moomin Characters Ltd.

The Finnish firm claimed the man had only registered the domain name with the intent to make a profit out of renting it.

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Domain Name vs. Trademark

Article published Nov 7, 2004
Gripe site case could be free-speech benchmark

DALLAS, Ga. - When Alan and Linda Townsend were unhappy with the sprayed-on siding applied to their house, the frustrated couple launched a Web site to complain and to give other unsatisfied customers a forum.

Visitor postings to the Web site said the product, Spray on Siding, cracked, bubbled and buckled. For their efforts, the Townsends got slapped with a lawsuit by the product’s maker.

The federal case may help shape the boundaries of online speech.

Companies routinely go after individuals when they feel people are maligning them on the Internet. And often, legal scholars say, the Web site’s owners don’t fight back at all.

In this dispute, North Carolina-based Alvis Coatings Inc., which supplied the siding product used in the Townsends’ $16,721 project, claims the couple’s Web site infringes on the company’s trademarks, defames its product and intentionally misleads and confuses consumers.

Alvis is seeking more than $75,000 in damages, in addition to unspecified punitive damages and attorney fees.

“We could lose everything, including the house, and still be in debt,” said Alan Townsend, whose house is valued at around $150,000.

Though neither side was looking for a brawl over speech rights, the lawsuit is headed that way, said Paul Levy, an attorney for Public Citizen, which agreed to help represent the Townsends.

Internet law expert Doug Isenberg of Georgia State University said the courts need to better define free-speech issues for the Internet, and this case could help.

“The right to criticize is certainly protected in general, but it is not unlimited,” Isenberg said. “Some of those limits include how you can use someone else’s trademark.”

The complaint filed by Alvis alleges that the name of the Townsends’ Web site, spraysiding.com, “is confusingly similar” to the official Alvis site, sprayonsiding.com, as well as its trademark “Spray on Siding.”

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Domain Name Dispute Ruling

Adu wins cyber battle

Ghanaian-born Freddy Adu, who plays for DC United in the US, has won his case against a man who claimed to be preparing a fan-based website for the player.
The ruling was made by an international arbitrator on Thursday.

The 15-year-old filed a complaint against Frank Fushille, a football fan who registered the website name - freddyadu.com - in 2002.

Richard Lyon, an arbitrator appointed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), ordered the website name should be transferred to Adu after ruling that Fushille had acted in bad faith.

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Washington Post Coverage of Story.

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