Archives For Cybersquatting

Is it too early or precisely the right time for a conversation about new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and the various ways brands can protect themselves against cybersquatting?  This was the main question nearly 20 participants had at a roundtable in Philadelphia sponsored by the International Trademark Association entitled “gTLDs: Protecting Your Brand.”

The discussion group, lead by yours truly, was made up of law firm attorneys, in-house counsel, representatives from service providers CCH Corsearch, and mega-registry Donuts.

Many in the room were there “to learn as much as I can about this subject” reflecting the fact that it’s still early in the rollout of new TLDs, and most brand owners have registered no new second-level domains let alone filed claims under the Uniform Rapid Suspension system (URS), the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP) or the Registry Restrictions Dispute Resolution Procedure (RRDRP) which have been added to the arsenal of brand owners that, until now, had been limited to the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Seven new gTLDs are now open to the public for registration of websites, and many more will become available to the public in the coming months so I expect there will be a tremendous increase in demand for expertise on these issues.

Many roundtable attendees were familiar with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) – the organization put in place by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to help brands protect their marks. But participants expressed concerns about the vague instructions from, and lack of communication by the TMCH.

Donuts’ Domains Protected Marks List (DPML), a blanket protection being offered across its 250+ TLDs, was of particular interest to attendees.  For less than the price of a single UDRP complaint, brand owners can block others from registering domains identical to, or that contain their trademark.  Even for this brand-friendly program, however, it seems likely that there will be kinks to work out the system gains in popularity.

Although clients may not be ready to ask for advanced gTLD services, now is the perfect time for trademark professionals to scale the learning curve so that once these domains start appearing on billboards, buses, Super Bowl® commercials, and web ads, these professionals can avoid last-minute scrambles and instead be fully prepared to take immediate steps to protect valuable brand assets.

Reining in the Rogue

FairWinds Partners —  January 18, 2013

At FairWinds, one of the services we offer clients is a sort of “spring cleaning” of their domain name registrations. We know that, especially for large corporations, there are often many different individuals who register domain names – sometimes representatives from various departments within the company, and other times account representatives at partner agencies such as marketing and creative firms. We also know that even when these registrations are made with the best of intentions, after a certain point, things tend to go awry. As time goes on, employees leave and agency contracts expire. And eventually, the company’s network of domain names starts to resemble a tangled web. Continue Reading…

Here at FairWinds, we take a lot of pride in the services we offer clients around new gTLDs. But traditionally, our services have focused on domain names in existing gTLDs – specifically, advising clients on the best ways to use domains to promote and protect their brands online. This is the major underlying mission of the work we do. That’s why we found it so amusing when we noticed that cybersquatters had begun registering domain names referencing brands’ new gTLD applications. Call it meta-cybersquatting, if you will, squatting on domains that are about…domains. Continue Reading…