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    Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) STOP the Madness!
    posted by jon on Friday June 28 2002, @11:13AM

    dtobias writes "A large flood of decisions are coming out now under STOP, the startup challenge policy for the .biz domain. Most are for obvious trademarks, like kodak.biz. However, a distressing number are handing over highly generic words to owners of weak trademarks. There seem to be some panelists who think, as a matter of course, that anybody with a trademark should be automatically entitled to ownership of the word in every possible TLD."



    Registrants are put in a "Catch-22" situation. They're expected to show rights or legitimate interests in the domain, which some panelists interpret to mean that they need to either already be doing business using the domain or have a detailed business plan of which the disputed domain is an integral part. However, who is going to put the effort and money into creating such a business plan surrounding a domain that is quite likely to be yanked away from you in the kangaroo-court STOP proceedings? A sensible businessperson is likely to wait until they have secure ownership of the generic-word .biz domain in question before they begin investing resources in it, but the panelists view such a situation as "lack of serious interest" and hold it against them.

    In a particularly egregious decision, airport.biz was awarded to Apple Computer on the grounds of their having a trademark on "Airport" for a specialized technical product. The fact that the respondent said they were intending to use the name in the field of aviation, where it's definitively generic, didn't sway the panelist, who did a cut-and-paste with standard boilerplate arguments for lack of legitimate interest and bad faith on the grounds that there was no conceivable use of the name that wouldn't be intended to create confusion in the minds of Internet users between the respondent and the trademark owner. Maybe in the Looking Glass Universe, that's true, but where I am, when I head to the airport tomorrow to catch a flight, I'm not confused about misleading associations with an Apple Computer product. (Is Apple going to challenge any domain containing "airport" in the .aero TLD too?)

    In another case, for bea.biz, NAF refused the respondent's request that the case be conducted in Korean, despite this being the language of the registration. The rules supposedly require the language of registration to be used unless both parties and the panelists consent to a different language, and the respondent here claimed not to speak English very well, but NAF brushed these concerns off and said that because the IP-claim confirmation process was conducted in English, this brought all registrants under the English language regardless of their registrars' agreement language, so the case would be conducted in English whether the respondent liked it or not. The respondent then failed to provide any response (maybe due to his lack of English skills, or because he saw it as a futile affair given that the process was stacked against him before the panelists even began to hear the case), and lost a default decision.

    A few good decisions on generic-word cases were made, however, such as names.biz, kept by the registrant despite a claim of violation of a common law trademark in names.com. (Are they going to sue all .name registrants for being confusingly similar?)

    On the whole, though, it seems like the resolution providers and panelists mostly regard STOP as a perfunctory process in which the mere existence of an IP claim provides strong rights on the part of the claimant that require a very strong defense to rebut them -- something few respondents are likely to be willing to put the resources into creating given how strongly the process is rigged against them.


     
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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    STOP the Madness! | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 18 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: STOP the Madness!
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Sunday June 30 2002, @05:42AM (#7554)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    While I agree with your criticisms of the .info sunrise policy, I disagree with the merits of your claim to ownership of the domains you won in the challenge process, or of the lawsuit you've filed against somebody else who challenged you in turn. While it's true that anybody was allowed to file a challenge against bogus .info sunrise registrations, it was also true that the successful challenger was required to comply with sunrise policy themselves if they wished to register the disputed domain -- this means that they were required to have a valid trademark on the name. Since you didn't, you got a taste of your own medicine when yet another party who also lacked a valid trademark challenged you in turn. Your lawsuit sounds a lot like sour grapes. Fairly speaking, all of those domains in question should have been put into the public pool for Landrush 2.

    By the way, whatever software you're composing your messages on seems to be inserting nonstandard characters; it's coming up for me with squares where various stuff like quotes and dashes should be. I'm used to seeing that on Mozilla (my normal browser) since it follows standards more strictly than other browsers, but right at the moment I'm using somebody else's computer with a very recent version of MSIE, and I guess even that has increased its standards conformance to no longer accept some oddball characters that used to work.
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