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Allstate cybersquatter gets away with it for a decade

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2010, Domain Policy

Allstate Insurance Company, a US insurer with over $30 billion in revenues, has just won a UDRP claim over AllstateInsurance.com, almost 10 years after the domain was first registered.

The company has been using the Allstate trademark for almost 80 years, and is currently the second-largest insurance company in America.

AllstateInsurance.com, the exact match of its company name as well as a combination of its trademark and its primary line of business, was registered in November 2000.

It is currently registered to a Korean individual named Seung Bum; he fought the UDRP claim unsuccessfully.

After a brief period being used by an apparently genuine insurance firm, the domain has been parked with PPC ads for other insurance companies for the best part of the last decade.

The volume of type-in traffic over than period must have been substantial, and one can only speculate how much revenue was accumulated.

All of which begs the question: why on earth did Allstate wait 10 years to file a UDRP claim?

It seems that cybersquatting, at least in this case, pays.

Deloitte brand list encourages UDRP claims

Kevin Murphy, March 31, 2010, Domain Policy

The number of UDRP claims a company files will help it qualify for a list of 100 brands that qualify for special protection in new gTLD launches.

Deloitte’s new brand list, expected to be published within a week, was created in response to ICANN’s call for a “globally protected marks list” or GPML, that new gTLDs can use in their sunrise periods.

The number of times a brand has been subject to a UDRP complaint is one of four criteria Deloitte is using for inclusion on the list.

.CO Internet, manager of the newly relaunched .co ccTLD, is already using the list in its sunrise period, referring to it as a “Specially Protected Marks” list.

Deloitte is more cautious, pointing out that while it was designed to fulfil some of the objectives of the ICANN GPML, it is not “the” GPML.

The company says: “the list published by Deloitte specifically intends to provide a fair view on which brands stand out in the safeguarding and enforcement of rights in the context of domain names.”

To make it onto the list, brands are assessed on these criteria: the web site’s ranking, the number of trademarks registered worldwide, whether the brand has participated in a previous sunrise, and how often the brand is cybersquatted.

For this last criterion: “Deloitte has reviewed in particular how many times a certain trademark has been invoked in the context of domain name dispute resolution proceedings, in particular in UDRP.”

UDRP claim pits .me against .me.uk

Kevin Murphy, March 29, 2010, Domain Policy

The owner of GuestList.me.uk has filed a UDRP claim against the registrant of GuestList.me.

As far as I can tell, this is the first UDRP case to directly pit a company built on a .me.uk brand against the registrant of the .me equivalent.

GuestList.me.uk is a London, UK-based nightclub promotions site that has been using its domain since 2003.

GuestList.me, which does not currently resolve, was registered through LCM.com’s privacy service on July 18, 2008, during the first 24 hours of .me general availability.

Given that LCM is a UK-based registrar, it seems plausible that GuestList.me’s registrant is also British.

It will be interesting to see which way this decision goes. There’s plenty of opportunity for precedent.

Microsoft wins Bing.com IDN case

Kevin Murphy, March 18, 2010, Domain Policy

Microsoft has won a UDRP dispute over xn--bng-jua.com, an IDN typo of its Bing.com search engine brand.

The domain shows up as bıng.com when run through a Punycode translator, virtually indistinguishable from Microsoft’s trademark.

In what appears to be an open-and-shut case, National Arbitration Forum panelist Louis Condon found that the domain was registered in bad faith and transferred it to Microsoft.

The domain was registered on May 27, 2009, the day before Microsoft officially unveiled Bing (the news had already been leaked) and immediately parked.

The original registrant, Jason Harrington of Pennsylvania, did not respond to the UDRP complaint.

Internet ‘villain’ to headline ICANN Brussels

Kevin Murphy, March 17, 2010, Domain Policy

It’s a date! Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, has accepted Rod Beckstrom’s invitation to attend ICANN’s meeting in Brussels this June.

Reding is a mildly controversial figure in the domain name world.

Notably, she is the recipient of a UK Internet Service Provider Association Internet Villain award over the launch of .eu, which happened under her watch as Information Society commissioner.

ISPA nominated her in 2007, for “foisting the most arcane set of rules yet seen for prior registration of .eu domains, requiring UK-registered companies to submit legal affidavits to justify the authenticity of their business.”

Arcane rules? At an ICANN meeting? Shurely shome mishtake.

It’s not clear whether Reding will be speaking at the meeting. She’s agreed to attend on June 22, the same day as the Governmental Advisory Committee meeting.