I don't disagree with what the article says but reiterate that these are not the best examples to hang a free speech campaign on. It is instructive to go to wipo.org and do a search on 'sucks' cases. |
Other cases include that regarding salvationarmysucks.com which was transferred, apparently due to the respondent not putting up a site while asking the Salvation Army for more than out of pocket expenses. This would seem to be a slam dunk based on intent to profit. OTOH, see the crappytire.com complaint, which was denied, where the respondent offered the domain for sale for considerably more money, and put up a site that apparently had the look and feel of sites belonging to the complainant.
See also the adtsucks.com ruling. The complainant had the name transferred from one Rick Schwartz, AKA Domain King, whose philosophy regarding registered names can be found here. The panel ruled in part:
Respondent’s ‘free speech’ claim is untenable. The evidence clearly displays a pattern of registering names which include famous marks plus the word ‘sucks’. That is, from a pattern of behavior they are inferring intent.
Another case found that some entity called AFX had registered autotradersucks.com as well as other names such as wwwautotrader.com and ordered all the permutations transferred. If one simply wished to complain about autotrader, a reasonable person might ask why one also needs to typosquat. Compare that to the denial of a claim for aoltrader.com, even though the respondent offered it to complainant America Online for more than out of pocket expenses. There is also the ruling regarding mclanenortheast.com and mclanenortheastsucks.com, both of which were not transferred.
Also see the natwestfraud.com ruling which was denied, even though the respondent had asked, even demanded, millions of dollars from the complainant for rights to the name. Check the reference within that ruling to natwestsucks.com which was transferred, the apparent difference being that the latter had never published a valid website. Indeed, the registrant of the latter lost another ruling over directlinesucks.com, and another ruling over standardcharteredsucks.com. Apparently WIPO considers that claiming to have acted only in the interest of the complainants by doing defensive registration for which each trademark holder could pay him a few thousand dollars whilst refraining from putting up a website is a bug, not a feature. And apparently my suggestion to mjrippon elsewhere on this thread that dixonssucks.com would be a 'safer' registration is wrong, or at best moot, as the same respondent also failed to retain that domain using the same logic.
And finally (I've elsewhere also mentioned the similar Harvey and Zuccarini cases), one Dan Parisi, known for whitehouse.com and madonna.com amongst other newsworthy namespace stories, retained lockheedsucks.com and lockheedmartinsucks.com in another WIPO ruling, the only apparent difference between this and some other rulings being that the latter pointed to Parisi's sucks.com, which was then a general rant site (sucks.com presently redirects to sucks500.com which remains a rant site, perhaps sucks.com will be used in future for another purpose).
What do I infer from all this? That most, if not all, of these respondents are using the registration of names to turn a profit, are using trademarked names to do so, and are showing a pattern of doing so.
What I don't see is a pattern of behavior, even from one dispute resolution provider, or even from the same panelists who have ruled either for or against in various of these cases. I think the case can be made that most all these sucks respondents are gaming the namespace. I don't see a similar pattern and don't think the case can be made that panelists are gaming the resolution process to consistently transfer sucks domains.
I haven't seen, thru a WIPO search anyway, one single example of a domain being taken away from some consumer putting up a single sucks website to criticize an entity owning a trademark that is included in the domain name. Unless and until that happens, even once (to get my dander up, there need not be a pattern), I don't see this as a battle worth fighting. -g