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“Super Lawyers” not famous enough to win gripe site UDRP fights

Kevin Murphy, July 5, 2011, 10:39:12 (UTC), Domain Policy

Three lawyers have failed to win cybersquatting complaints against a blogger who registered domains matching their personal names in order to criticize them.

Gregg Mashberg, Allen Fagin and Joseph Leccese, all attorneys with the international law firm Proskauer Rose, have lost three separate UDRP complaints recently.

Self-professed “investigative blogger” Crystal Cox registered josephleccese.com, allenfagin.com and greggmashberg.com last October, in order to publish a handful of unreadable and potentially defamatory blog posts alleging various forms of criminality.

The three men do not hold registered trademarks matching their names, so were forced to rely upon various awards they have won and media appearances they have made to show common law rights.

All three have apparently been named “Super Lawyers” by something called New York Super Lawyers, for example.

But the three-person WIPO panel which heard all three cases found, in virtually identical decisions, that the lawyers had failed to acquire common law trademark rights to their names.

The decisions read:

The record before the Panel suggests that Complainant is a highly respected, prominent lawyer who is a partner with a major law firm. There is insufficient evidence here that Complainant markets or provides services independently of the Proskauer law firm. Rather, it appears that the Proskauer firm is the platform on which Complainant provides his legal services.

It’s not unusual for a celebrity or public figure to win a UDRP complaint on the basis of their fame, but it appears in this case that the complainants were just not famous enough.

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