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    Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) Unix.org reverse-hijacked
    posted by jon on Thursday July 11 2002, @10:24AM

    A WIPO arbitrator has awarded unix.org to X/Open Company Limited, which owns trademarks in the word UNIX. The www.unix.org web site wasn't live yet, and the arbitrator (Ross Carson, a Canadian patent and trademark lawyer) conceded that the domain name holder had been in the process of developing a web site containing articles and editorials about Unix. Nonetheless, the arbitrator stated that the word UNIX was X/Open's property, a famous and inherently distinctive trademark, and that X/Open hadn't licensed this sort of use of its word.

    Under the UDRP Policy, an arbitrator is forbidden to transfer a name unless he finds that the name "has been registered and is being used in bad faith." Carson, creatively, found this requirement satisfied because (1) the domain name holder, he said, owns a company whose home page "includes many commercial links including astalavista.box.sk having links to a casino"; (2) the domain name holder's planned web pages for unix.org contained notations that UNIX was an X/Open trademark; and (3) the planned web pages contained a link to sendmail.org, a nonprofit site maintained by the sendmail consortium, but which Carson said "includes commercial offers of products and services."



    X/Open has also filed UDRP challenges against the owners of unix.net and unix.com.

    John Gilmore's take on all this:

    "Unix companies have been shooting themselves in the foot for years. This is just the latest 'let's all pull apart rather than pull together' idiocy. Luckily, we have Linux to fall back on. Its trademark holder isn't shutting down any web sites that discuss it."

    "The unix.org domain name has been taken away for 'cybersquatting' when it did not meet any of the qualifications for cybersquatting. The ICANN-created 'Uniform Dispute Resolution Protocol' has long been an excuse for companies to clobber individuals whose speech they disagree with (or who merely threaten to breach the desire total control over a word)."

    "Now tell me again that free speech guarantees should not be part of the incorporation charter of ICANN."

     
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    Unix.org reverse-hijacked | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 19 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Unix.org reverse-hijacked
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Thursday July 11 2002, @05:34PM (#7794)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    Well, this isn't the most awful decision they've rendered, by any means, but they did seem to once again pull "bad faith" out of nowhere.

    Unix [tm] is indeed a trademark, and always has been, but it's one that is probably vulnerable to challenge in court over having become generic (like "escalator" and "zipper" before it)... it's been many years since "Unix" has referred coherently to a specific product from a particular vendor (you'd have to go way back to when AT&T was still in charge of it). Nowadays, in the mindspace of the computer-using public, "Unix" merely refers to a vague and fuzzy cluster of operating systems that have a certain degree of similarity to one another (some of which have "Unix" as part of their official names and some don't), as well as the user and developer community and culture that have developed around these systems.

    Even within the "geek" community, if you ask people who owns the trademark to Unix, they'll probably mostly say, "Well, it used to be AT&T or Bell Labs or something like that, but didn't somebody else take it over or something? I'm not sure. Maybe it's public domain now... I don't see commercial stuff marketed under that name much any more. Linux seems to be where the action is these days."

    Linux, for its part, has maintained a better degree of coherency despite being an open source project. That name still refers to a specific systems software project with specific people in charge of it, and is hence more protectable as a trademark.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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    Re: Unix.org reverse-hijacked
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Tuesday July 16 2002, @05:36AM (#7894)
    User #2810 Info
    For the record, unix.net has also now been awarded to complainant. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Unix.org reverse-hijacked
    by Ron_Bennett on Thursday July 11 2002, @08:24PM (#7798)
    User #3011 Info | http://www.wyomissing.com/bennett/
    Marshall-

    From what I read in the decision, you paid around $5000 for the domain...yet you couldn't afford representation...attorneys that specialize in UDRP related disputes aren't that expensive. Heck, just one hour (a few hundred bucks) would have HELP greatly; or even reading the newsgroups, etc would have helped and cost you nothing.

    As soon as you acknowledged that they had a trademark and you didn't, you were "dead" in the water so to speak. Game over.

    And worse, you went with a one person panal (the default); yes I realize money was tight, but a three person panal is typically better for most UDRP cases and alone could've made all the difference...

    With that said, you're not totally out of options, you could go the Federal court route, but if you can't afford or somehow get an attorney this is likely not an option; especially in a federal case you'd likely need more than just one attorney in a case that involves the number of trademarks thoughout the world they claim to have registered and all the other issues...yikes!!

    Anyways, I doubt you're going to get much traction on this dispute from the community at-large. While the UDRP panal stretched things somewhat, their decision wasn't totally out of the park...in summery...

    1. The complainant has a trademark and you don't...

    2. You had no real website nor other bonafide resource on the domain...did you?

    3. You registered the domain knowing they did have a claim to the name "Unix" (or at least knowing they were associated with the name Unix).
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Unix.org reverse-hijacked
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Friday July 12 2002, @06:54AM (#7810)
    User #2810 Info
    Sorry, but I don't see any new precedents being set by this case. Look at the montyroberts dot comnetorg decision for an example of linking to a commercial site. There was another one who's name I've forgotten where the Respondent used a free hitcounter from a site and if you clicked on the counter you were taken to a site which had ads, which is a Very Bad Thing.

    And that leaves aside the whole question of precedence under the UDRP. There's really no such thing. With rulings unappealable, each one stands on its own, nothing ever shakes out, there is no UDRP supreme court, no court of appeal, the body of caselaw is as easy to handle as nailing jelly to a wall, any decision can be used subsequently in whatever fashion the new panel wishes. And as most panels want to find for the Complainant, they cite whatever cases they want. I do think you were done over here but if you can't afford to get into a real court to have your say, perhaps you can afford ten bux for unix-sux.org. For that matter, register unix-sux.com and don't worry about where links might lead.

    BTW, Monty Roberts is the horse whisperer guy. If I hadn't heard about the UDRP dispute I probably never would have known he's a fraud and a liar. By bringing the dispute he just gave more publicity to his critics. Take a look at gatt.org. The WTO was asked recently why they don't go after the YesMen, they said because it would just give them more publicity. Others could learn from that level of clue. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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