Go Daddy has filed a UDRP complaint against a web hosting company that uses a similar brand to sell domain names, maddogwebhosting.com.
The domain appears to have been used by a small-time hosting reseller for about two years. Its mailing address is a flat in south London.
But Go Daddy subsidiary Mad Dog Domains, which also sells hosting, has been around for longer and appears to have a trademark on its brand.
It’s not really an open-and-shut case by UDRP standards, given that Mad Dog Web Hosting appears to be a legitimate site, but I suspect Go Daddy has a reasonably good chance of prevailing.
We’ll have to wait for the ruling to be made and published by WIPO to find out the full details.
Did Microsoft just file a UDRP complaint on a typo of a domain name it doesn’t even own?
When Microsoft announced its new Kinect games console earlier this year, it did so without owning the domain kinect.com, as I blogged at the time.
But this week somebody – I’m guessing Microsoft – has filed UDRP on the typo wwwkinect.com, which was registered about the same time as the console launched and is currently parked.
The complainant’s name doesn’t seem to be available yet, but the case was filed the same day as several other Kinect-related UDRP cases that almost certainly are Microsoft’s work, such as microsoftkinect.com.
Kinect.com currently belongs to an advertising agency called CAHG. The domain isn’t resolving (for me) at the moment, which makes me wonder if it’s in the process of changing hands.
It would certainly be unusual for the company to own a typo of somebody else’s domain, although I don’t think there’s anything in the UDRP rules that would prevent it winning the case.
UDRP, after all, only compares contested domains against owned trademarks, not domain portfolios.
While Microsoft would not have a leg to stand on if it filed UDRP against the non-typo domain, I expect a good case could be made that the large majority of people typing “kinect.com” into their browsers are looking for Microsoft’s console.
Alexa is showing that kinect.com has experienced a 350% increase in traffic over the last three months, and has increased its Alexa rank by almost two million places.
UPDATE 2011/01/01: Microsoft now owns the domain.
The international charitable organization Save the Children has recovered two domain names from a squatter who held them hostage for $2,500.
Save the Children, which hosts its official web site at savethechildren.org, recently won a UDRP complaint for the domains save-the-children.com and save-the-children.org, which are both parked.
As you might imagine, it was an open-and-shut case.
Save the Children has been around since the 1930s, and it owns trademarks on its name.
Bad faith was proved with a shockingly clueless email from the registrant:
As you may be aware, with the explosion of the internet and domains, there has been a scramble by speculators or entrepreneurs to purchase popular names or names which we believe may become popular, so we can resell them for a profit. In fact, many businesses will buy numerous domain names that are similar, or may be abbreviations or acronyms, or with different suffexes [sic] in order to get them off the market and prevent somebody else purchasing it.
After consulting with my attorney, and in the best interests of a speedy resolution, I’ve been advised to offer to sell my domain to your client.
I am unwilling to give it up for free since I purchased it. However, I am willing to sell it, and I am asking $2,500.00 for my website.
Whois records show that the domain has changed hands a few times since it was first registered in 2001. I hope the current registrant paid a lot for it.
This kind of behavior is why domainers get a bad rep.
Lego, maker of the popular building block toys, is rapidly becoming one of the most UDRP-happy big-brand trademark holders.
The company recently filed its 150th claim, and has so far recovered well over 250 domains that included its trademark.
With over 100 UDRPs filed so far in 2010, that works out to an average of roughly one complaint every three days, and a total spend easily into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Its success rate to date is 100%, with no complaints denied.
Its successfully recovered domains include oddities such as legogiraffepenis.com, which appears to be based on this amusing misunderstanding.
If Lego keeps up its current rate of enforcement, it will likely pass Microsoft in the next few months in terms of total cases filed. It’s already filed more than Yahoo and Google.
But it still has a long way to go to catch up with AOL, possibly the most prolific UDRP complainant, which has close to 500 complaints under its belt.
ICANN’s business constituency is to object to a new Jordan-based UDRP provider, saying that no new providers should be approved until rules governing their behavior are put in place.
The BC reckons that UDRP decisions need to be more consistent and predictable, and that a good way to achieve this would be with standard accountability mechanisms.
In a draft position statement, expected to be finalized and filed with ICANN tomorrow, the BC says that it:
strongly advocates that ICANN must first implement a standard mechanism with any and all UDRP arbitration providers that defines and constrains their authority and powers, and establishes regular and standardized review by ICANN with flexible and effective means of enforcement.
Its comment is expected to be filed in response to the Arab Center for Domain Name Dispute Resolution’s request for official recognition as a UDRP provider last month.
The BC does not appear to object to the ACDR on its own merits or on the basis of its location.
The statement notes that registrars are bound by contracts setting the rules for domain registrations, but that UDRP providers can force transfers unconstrained by any ICANN guidelines or oversight.
It’s well-known that UDRP decisions from the various existing providers are currently about as predictable as flipping a coin, with panelists frequently interpreting the rules along quite different lines.
The BC seems concerned that this could be exacerbated as more UDRP providers are approved and as new TLD registries start popping up in different countries.
The draft statement notes that currently about 99% of UDRP cases are heard by WIPO and NAF, and that most gTLDs are “based in a limited number of national jurisdictions”.