Domain Names: The dangers of “snapping”

14 03 2018

Lime Green IP news

MARCH 12TH, 2018 BY DAVID TAYLOR AND SEAN KELLY

DNS Belgium, the Registry operating the .BE country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), recently published an article warning domain name owners of the risks inherent in the practice of “snapping”.  Although anyone can legitimately snap up an expired domain name, problems can arise when cybercriminals grab expired domain names and then use them in damaging ways, such as pointing them to fake retail websites or re-creating email addresses based on them.

The practice of “snapping” (also known as backorders or snapbacks) has been around for some time and domain name owners should carefully consider the potential risks before allowing their domain names to expire.  The cost of renewing a domain name is, after all, small in comparison with the cost of legal action to recover one that has been registered by a third party who is using the domain name in a way that is damaging.

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Trademark Lawsuit Claiming Organic Search Results Create Initial Interest Confusion Falls Apart–Larsen v. Larson

19 12 2017

Disclosure note: I provided an expert report in this now-dismissed case, so you might consider my comments to be advocacy. I’ll explain my expert role in a bit.

The Court Opinion

Susan Larsen practices business law in the Denver, Colorado metro area under the name Larsen Law Offices. She claims she’s been using the name since 2003, though she did not register the name as a trademark (and would need to address the obvious secondary meaning issues to do so). David Larson practices estate planning law (and more) in the Denver metro area as well. In 2013, Larson set up a website at the domain name davidlarsonlawoffice.com, and he used the domain name larsonlawoffice.com starting in 2016. In 2016, Larsen sued Larson for trademark infringement, ACPA and more. After the complaint, Larson’s website removed references to Larson Law Offices, adopting the name David M. Larson, PLLC. Larson partially moved to dismiss.

Cybersquatting. The court says “Plaintiff does not allege that Mr. Larson had actual knowledge of Larsen Law Offices’ existence in 2013, or that he has ever conducted a Google search that returned plaintiff’s name.” Further (cites omitted):

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Case citation: Larsen Law Offices v. David Larson, 2017 WL 1131885 (D. Colo. Mar. 14, 2017). The complaint.

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2017/03/trademark-lawsuit-claiming-organic-search-results-create-initial-interest-confusion-falls-apart-larsen-v-larson.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Project management company files trademark lawsuit against potential scam artists

12 10 2017

Plaintiff operates a project management training company called “Project Management Academy.” Plaintiff has used the trademark since 2009 and owns several related federal trademark registrations.

The Defendants are accused of operating a similar company (some call it a scam) using the “Project Management Academy” or “PMA” trademarks.

Educate 360, LLC v. Patchree Patchrint et al.

Court Case Number: 4:17-cv-00078
File Date: Friday, October 6, 2017
Plaintiff: Educate 360, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: William P. Kelley, David M. Stupich of Stuart & Branigin LLP
Defendant:  Patchree Patchrint a/k/a Patty Jones and Anthony Christopher Jones
Cause: Declaratory Relief, Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin, Cybersquatting, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Passing Off/Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: TBD
Referred To: TBD

Complaint:

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2H 2016 Quick Links, Part 3 (Trademarks and Domain Names)

3 01 2017

Trademarks

* Evoqua Water Technologies LLC v. M.W. Watermark LLC, 2016 WL 4727432 (W.D. Mich. Sept. 12, 2016)

* Board of Regents of the University of Houston System v. Houston College of Law, 2016 WL 6037243 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 14, 2016):

* Search Engine Land: Bidding on the competition: Is it really worth it? In many industries, competitive keyword advertising is a prisoner’s dilemma. The article’s suggestion to negotiate a cease-fire with competitors is a high-risk strategy. See FTC v. 1-800 Contacts.

* Cedar Valley Exteriors, Inc. v. Professional Exteriors, Inc., Case No. 13?CV?2537 (PJS/TNL) (D. Minn. June 29, 2016):

* IFS Financial Services v. Touchstone Financial of Midvale, 2016 WL 4750173 (D. Utah Sept. 12, 2016)

* Merriam Webster on why the word “skittles” is in the dictionary

* WSJ: Hopportunity Cost: Craft Brewers Brawl Over Catchy Names as Puns Run Dry

* Austin American-Statesman: UT to doughnut shop: Yeast and desist

* CNN: Iceland is suing a supermarket that’s using its name

* Shontavia Johnson, Trademark Territoriality in Cyberspace: an Internet Framework for Common-Law Trademarks, 29 Berkeley Tech. L.J. (2015). Related blog post.

Domain Names

* Doug Isenberg: What We Can Learn from URS Decisions (Hint: Not Much)

* The Register: Simply not credible: The extraordinary verdict against the body that hopes to run the internet. Independent review tears into ICANN board and staff.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/12/2h-2016-quick-links-part-3-trademarks-and-domain-names.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



TP-Link forgets to register domain name, leaves config pages open to hijack

12 07 2016
In common with many other vendors, TP-Link, one of the world’s biggest sellers of Wi-Fi access points and home routers, has a domain name that owners of the hardware can use to quickly get to their router’s configuration page. Unlike most other vendors, however, it appears that TP-Link has failed to renew its registration for the domain, leaving it available for anyone to buy. Any owner of the domain could feasibly use it for fake administration pages to phish credentials or upload bogus firmware. This omission was spotted by Amitay Dan, CEO of Cybermoon, and posted to the Bugtraq mailing list last week.

Two domain names used by TP-Link appear to be affected. tplinklogin-dot-net was used, according to TP-Link, on devices sold until 2014.  . . .

Together, these domain names appear to be quite busy; estimates based on Alexa’s ranking suggest that tplinklogin-dot-net sees about 4.4 million visits per month, with another 800,000 for tplinkextender-dot-net.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/07/tp-link-forgets-to-register-domain-name-leaves-config-pages-open-to-hijack/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Michelin Domain Challenge

20 11 2015

Dear Rich: An Intellectual Property Blog

October 12, 2015

The Dear Rich Staff

Dear Rich: Two years ago, my mother received a medical diagnosis and was expected to live about nine months to a year. In order to pass the time, and take her mind off of things, she decided she wanted to eat at all the Michelin star restaurants in London and write a blog critiquing their vegetarian offerings. (My stepfather is vegetarian and she felt this would be a fun bucket list item, that would also help people). In order to help her with her project, I bought the domain “MeatFreeMichelin.com.” I was shocked when I received a communication from Michelin’s legal representative saying that I was running the site in bad faith (he’s basing this on the fact I didn’t respond to the email he sent – I didn’t see it because it went to junk mail) and has started proceedings to seize the domain. He also threatened I would have to pay attorney’s fees – all for a site that was put up for fun- with no commercial interest- that used very little other than the name. The site didn’t look anything like Michelin’s, no logo’s were used, we did not imply that we had any kind of sponsorship and my mother chose the Michelin name because that’s how she decided which restaurants. In other words there was little other way to identify them. We believe this was fair use. However, even though we believe we are right with the fair use part — and I have taken down the site as a precautionary measure — we are still getting communications from Michelin’s attorney who continues to ignore our repeated requests that he explain why this is not fair use.

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Walmart.horse is put out to pasture after retailer starts domain dispute

24 06 2015

[ed.: here, the big guy chills the little guy, even though the little guy would probably win]

Comic artist Jeph Jacques was so amused when the .horse top level domain was created he decided to make a new website: walmart.horse. The site portrayed an unexplainably funny picture of a horse in front of a Walmart store (above).

Walmart didn’t get the joke. In March, they sent Jacques a cease-and-desist letter telling him that the site infringed their trademark. Jacques responded, saying his site was fair use because the horsey site was an “obvious parody.” If Walmart had other animals it wanted to add to the website, he added cheekily, “I would happily comply!”

Two months later, Walmart had enough of this horsing around. The company didn’t drop the issue, instead filing papers with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and initiating a domain name dispute. It’s a procedure that’s meant to knock out cybersquatters.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/05/walmart-horse-is-put-out-to-pasture-after-retailer-starts-domain-dispute/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Trademark lawyer to 3-man startup: Hand over your domain—or else

22 06 2015

Today is the deadline for Erik Dykema to decide whether or not he will fight for his company’s name.

Dykema and two co-founders created CaseRails more than two years ago. The Manhattan-based startup has just three people, all focused on creating and managing legal documents.

Two weeks ago, CaseRails started ramping up its marketing, increasing its advertising, and e-mailing attorneys who might be interested in its product. Not long after that outreach, Dykema got a phone call from Sanford Asman, a trademark lawyer who says his rights are being infringed by CaseRails.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/05/trademark-lawyer-to-3-man-startup-hand-over-your-domain-or-else/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Google And Yahoo Defeat Last Remaining Lawsuit Over Competitive Keyword Advertising (Forbes Cross-Post)

15 06 2015

Keyword advertising using competitors’ trademarks is now so well-accepted, it may be hard to remember that the practice used to generate serious debate among lawyers and ethicists. In particular, the search engines drew substantial legal fire from trademark owners for selling “their” trademarks; at one point around 2010, I believe Google had about a dozen simultaneously pending lawsuits.

Recently, a California appellate court dismissed another competitive keyword advertising lawsuit against Google and Yahoo. As far as I know, it was the last remaining lawsuit of its kind. As a result, for the first time in at least a decade, I believe there are no more pending lawsuits against search engines regarding competitive keyword advertising.

About the Ruling

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Case citation: Ison v. Google, Inc., 2015 WL 3395574 (Cal. Ct. App. May 27, 2015)

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Court Declines to Review LRO to [.delmonte], Saying gTLDs Aren’t ‘Domain Names’ for Cybersquatting Purposes

11 02 2014

A Swiss Del Monte entity that had a license to use the “DEL MONTE” mark applies to operate the .delmonte generic top level domain (gTLD). Another Del Monte entity, based in Delaware, filed a “legal rights objection” (under WIPO-established procedures) to the Swiss Del Monte’s application. A three member panel sustained the Delaware company’s LRO. (Here’s a .pdf link to the panel decision.) The Swiss entity sued in federal court seeking a declaration that it had sufficient rights in the “DEL MONTE” mark to operate the TLD and that it was not violating the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA, the cybersquatting statute) in doing so. The Swiss entity further sought an injunction requiring the Delaware entity to withdraw its LRO.

The court says an initial question is whether it has jurisdiction. . . .

Is a gTLD a “Domain Name”?

On the key question of whether plaintiff’s application to operate the .delmonte TLD implicates the ACPA, the court says it’s a matter of first impression. Generally, courts ignore the TLD in the context of the trademark analysis (i.e., acme.com is treated the same as “acme” for trademark purposes). Nevertheless, the case law is largely inconclusive.

The court looks to the text of the ACPA and says it’s equivocal:

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2014/02/court-declines-to-review-lro-to-saying-gtlds-arent-domain-names-for-cybersquatting-purposes.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.