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10|14|2009 05:19 pm EDT

NBA Star Chris Bosh’s Legal Case Wins His Domain Name and Hundreds More

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

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In a bizarre ruling in California federal court, NBA star Chris Bosh was awarded the domain name ChrisBosh.com and nearly 800 of these domain names from alleged cybersquatter, Luis Zavala of Hoopology.com.  The ruling gives Bosh the authority to take over the domain names of hundreds of basketball stars, a pro wrestler, pro golfers, and some other random domains.

Bosh is offering the domains back to the celebrity or person that the domain represents. In a statement on the published list it states the domains will be given to the celebrity “free of charge as a courtesy to the celebrity named herein, provided that such person promptly requests the return of such domain name in writing”.

Clearly Zavala was speculating by the looks of this list . He registered many college and highschool basketball player domains, but what is very unclear is how the court made the determination that nearly 800 of these domains should be awarded to Bosh. We have yet to find the filing, but we will post that soon.  Names that have no relation to a celebrity or other trademark were also awarded to Bosh including names like Hoopology.com, October24.com, Mixedmartianarts.com and 2 cities in Mexico, Walamo.com and Curimeo.

The fact that unrelated/unsquatted domains could be given up to a claimant is truly a scary ruling for domain name owners in DNN’s opinion.

UPDATE : Attornies for Bosh, Winston & Strawn,  have a press release about the case up now where they proclaim Bosh a “cyber hero”.

[first seen on ESPN]

12|30|2008 07:01 pm EDT

FastCompany And TechCrunch On New TLDs and Cybersquatting

by Adam Strong in Categories: News

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Chris Dannen of FastCompany blogged his thoughts on the pending release of new TLDs . Dannen feels that the release of the new domain extension will spur a rebirth of cybersquatting.  Too bad Dannen, like many others, has bought in to the idea that cybersquatting equals buying and selling domain names or merely owning more than one domain.  He cites an example of an Iraq War veteran and friend of his who bought up and sold domain names to supplement his income. I’m not sure what this friend of his owns but the act of buying domain names and selling them is not really cybersquatting.  Cybersquatting is illegal. Speculating on domains is not. Owning thousands of domains is not. Selling domains is not.

Dannen also buys in to the message that seems to be one propelling the introduction of new TLDs forward “the Web is running out of memorable domain names.”  Highly unlikely given the number of TLDs we currently have, language variations and made up words and names that are created every day.  Even the name ipod, a name he uses in his piece, meant nothing a mere 7 years prior.

Cyber squatters will suddenly have billions of new domain names to purchase for only a few dollars — no longer will they have to rely on buying domains more expensively secondhand. Trademark infringement suits will balloon from tens or hundreds of domains to thousands and tens of thousands.

Jason Kincaid of TechCrunch follows up to the FastCompany piece, essentially stating that nobody really cares about all these new extensions.  Sure there will be squatters and speculators grabbing up a bunch of domains and it may keep the lawyers busy. We can however look at the history of the latest and greatest new TLD and see that this game is pretty much played out.  A new TLD needs an audience and type-ins and a reason for people to gravitate to it.

As Kincaid points out, people generally don’t navigate to these new TLDs through typeins contrary to what Dannen seems to be saying. The new TLDs are not recession proof in our opinion either.  How well are those .mobi aftermarket sales going right about now?  The Fortune article by Paul Sloan talking about domains as recession proof is clearly dated, given the downward trend that all in the domain space have been feeling.

12|20|2008 12:58 am EDT

Vulcan vs Google Case – Plaintiffs Denied Class Certification

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

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In a case that is well over a year old, Vulcan Golf and other plaintiffs in the “Vulcan vs Google” case where handed a set back this week as the court denied their class certification.  The court’s decision can be found at this link on Docutek (pdf).  DNN caught wind of this news through Eric Goldman’s blog where he provides a summary of the the court’s decision and it’s implications.

” The court rejects class certification for the trademark infringement and Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act claims because the individual questions of fact predominate over the common questions of law.” (more…)

08|22|2008 02:46 pm EDT

NBC’s (Misguided) Coverage on Domain Names

by Adam Strong in Categories: Miscellaneous

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Historically the mainstream media has covered the domain name space more than once in a negative light. Admittedly it’s much too easy and wagging a finger at someone is often more entertaining. The most recent piece by Andrew Siff of WNBC falls in to this category of negative coverage, but also crosses in to the realm of completely absurd and irresponsible.

Here’s 5 things I caught.

#1 – Journalist interviews journalist.
Kyle Monson of PC Magazine is interviewed in the story as an expert in the domain name business. Really ? Ok maybe he knows a bit about the space from past coverage and journalist are supposedly unbiased right ? :)  . . . (more…)

06|04|2008 01:28 pm EDT

McAfee Identifies The “Mal-web” In Domain Names

by Adam Strong in Categories: ccTLDs

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Anti-virus software maker McAfee released their second “Mapping the Mal Web” (PDF) report today. The McAfee report attempts to map and identify the specific domain names where malicious websites reside. This is the second year for the report. In the 2007 report, the .tk extension was reported to have the highest number of malicious websites with over . This year Hong Kong domain name extension .hk takes away the title with 19.2% , followed closely by China’s .cn with 11.8%.  Within the generic domain name extensions (gTLDs) .info ranked in with 11.7% of all sites ending in .info posing a security threat. The second rank in gTLDs went to .net with 6%. The report claims that a little under 5% of .com domain names were found to be risky. McAfee also identified the domains with the least amount of risk reside in the .gov, .jp and .au extensions.
The newest report specifically points to .hk and .cn domain names as having a substantially higher percentage of malicious websites. In the 2007 report, McAfee had not pointed to those extensions as having such high percentages.

Shane Keats, research analyst for McAfee and lead author of the report, said the increase in dangerous sites registered under the “.hk” and “.cn” domains over last year’s report was caused in part by better data collection on McAfee’s part on those domains and by apparent security lapses in some registrar companies’ processes for registering addresses.

The 2007 report claimed the .tk extension to have one of the highest percentages (10.1%). After the McAfee report was released, Dot TK, operators of the registry for Tokelau, implemented changes geared toward the reduction of these malicious sites. The .tk extension dropped considerably to #28 this year. Dot TK faced a 10% decline in registrations and a backlash from adveritsers running ads on .tk landing pages. The domain business reportedly accounts for a “double digit” percentage of the GDP of Tokelau. One could assume that the reduction in domain registrations that .tk felt will now be seen at the .hk, .cn and .info domain registries. This news should come as a wake up call to these operators.

The high percentage of malicious sites found on the .info extension may also be read as another “nail in the coffin” for the gTLD. The McAfee report follows on the heels of the news earlier last week that Google was dropping .info domains from search listings. All of this bad news can’t be sitting well for the .info registry or anyone heavily invested in .info domain names.

05|13|2008 05:05 pm EDT

Call Girl Goes After Girls Gone Wild For Cybersquatting

by Adam Strong in Categories: Miscellaneous

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ashley dupreAshley Alexandra Dupre, the reported mistress of former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against MRA Holdings, producers of the popular Girls Gone Wild videos. Among the many allegations, the filing cites violations of the Lanham Act including cybersquatting domain names. Other Lanham violations include profiting from trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false represenation and false description of goods. Dupre’s attorneys claim that the company and/or agents are cybersquatting by owning and using several domain names which contain Dupre’s name such as AshleyDupre.net GirlsGoneWildAshleyDupre.com, and AshleyDupreCallGirl.com.

MRA Holdings and Mantra have experience with domain name law, at least in the arbitration process. The company has gone after domain name owners through arbitration at NAF on a number of domains such as girlsgonewildusa.com and girlsgonwild.com. MRA have also been sued plenty of times, Duprey’s attorneys may have a hard time proving some of these allegations.

05|13|2008 01:14 am EDT

Maveron Plays Both Sides, Backs Citizen Hawk with $3 Million

by Adam Strong in Categories: Miscellaneous

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citizen hawk logoAs reported by Tech Crunch, Citizen Hawk, a “digital brand management” company is now funded with $3 million courtesy of Maveron LLC.

“CitizenHawk helps companies protect their online brands by targeting cybersquatters.”

The interesting angle that goes unmentioned at Tech Crunch is that Maveron already has a history of investmenting in the domain space with their funding of Internet REIT (iREIT). iREIT has come under fire in the past for owning a vast amount of the same trademark/typo infringing domains that Citizen Hawk seeks to “manage” for their clients.

About a year ago, some of the specifics of iREIT’s holdings were detailed by WSJ writer David Kesmodel. Since then, the company has been among several defendants named in high profile legal battles in the domain space, including the Vulcan Golf and Verizon lawsuits. Domain Name News has covered some of Citizen Hawk’s tactics previously in this post.

Thanks to ‘Office Naughty’ for the story tip!