Articles Posted in Domain Name

Santa Ana, CA – Trademark and anti-cybersquatting attorneys for filed a trademark infringement, Lanham Act unfair competition, cyberquatting, and California Business and Professions Code §17200 lawsuit in Federal District Court in Santa Ana against an alleged cybersquatter of the domain name. has been an e-commerce company since 1997 and has operated the website to market and sell products since at least 1998. owns three relevant trademarks related to its business, which marks are registered on the Principal Register of the USPTO. alleges that “throughout the past 10 years, Plaintiff has used the trademarks to build and establish considerable goodwill in the online retail industry. In fact, through the use of these trademarks, Plaintiff is universally recognized as a leader in e-commerce and as a provider of superior goods and services, and is visited by over 5 million US shoppers each month.”

The complaint continues, “Defendant is the registrant of the Internet domain name [with an additional “s”]. Defendant uses the website to profit from the trademarks. Specifically, Defendant’s website contains numerous advertisements for and/or hyperlinks to a variety of products and services that compete directly with Plaintiff, such as eBay and Dell. Upon information and belief, Defendant receives a payment when Internet users click on one or more links or advertisements on the website . . . By using the domain name that is confusingly similar to Plaintiff’s trademarks Defendant was and is creating, or attempting to create, an association between the domain name and Plaintiff, and has frustrated or diverted Internet traffic intended for Plaintiff.” The complaint asserts the following causes of action: (1) Federal trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1114; (2) False designation of origin and unfair competition under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); (3) Cybersquatting under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d); (4) California common law unfair competition; (5) Unfair competition under California Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200; (6) Common law unfair competition; and (7) Declaratory Judgment under 28 U.S.C. §2201. The case is titled:, Inc. v. Webmagic Ventures, LLC, SACV08-00510 JVS (C.D. Cal. 2008).

Los Angeles, CA – A class action complaint was filed against domain name registrar Network Solutions, LLC and ICANN for basically cybersqatting and frontrunning on customers’ domain name availability searches through Network Solutions. The case is titled, McElroy v. Network Solutions, LLC et al. The complaint alleges that when a customer searches for the availability of a domain name on Network Solutions, but does not purchase it, Network Solutions itself registers that exact domain name that was searched. Network Solutions then places a full page add on a website provided under the searched-for-domain-name indicating that the domain name may only be purchased from Network Solutions. If the same customer attempts to purchase the domain name from another competing registrar, for example, it receives an unavailability notice. When the customer returns to Network Solutions to purchase the domain, it is charged three and a half times more than registering it elsewhere.

The complaint charges that Network Solutions’ misconduct can only occur “through the acquiescence, tacit approval and participation of ICANN” and its Add Grace Period (AGP) agreement, which allows “a domain name registrar to avoid paying a registration fee for domain names canceled within five days of registration.” The complaint continues that “ICANN was, and is, aware of Network Solutions’ actions and continued to permit Network Solutions’ fraudulent abuse of the AGP for its own gain and to the detriment of consumers.” The complaint lists causes of action for fraudulent concealment, aiding and abetting fraudulent concealment, and unjust enrichment.

Trademark litigation, including Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act violations and Section 17200 unfair competition, was filed by Beverly Hills based Hollywood Network, Inc. against its former independent contractor of ten years, Chris Davies. Hollywood Network alleges that Davies was intimately involved in Plaintiff’s annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards gala celebration. Plaintiff is a licensee of numerous trademarks registered with the USPTO, including Hollywood Film Festival, Hollywood Awards, and Hollywood Movie Awards. Plaintiffs also own numerous domain names that incorporate their trademarks.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Davies registered the “” and “” domain name using a fictitious pseudonym or dba. Plaintiffs alleged that they made a good-faith attempt to resolve the dispute by having the domain names transferred voluntarily. However, Defendant offered to sell the disputed domain names to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs thus filed the instant complaint alleging cybersquatting under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d), requesting statutory damages under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(d) in an amount not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $100,000.00 per domain name. Also, Plaintiffs allege infringement of USPTO registered trademarks under 15 U.S.C. 1114(1) and False Designation of Origin under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Further, Plaintiffs allege California Common Law Trademark Infringement and unfair competition under Business and Professions Code § 17200. The case is titled Hollywood Network, Inc. v. Chris Davies, CV08-01035 (CD CA 2008).


Domain-name arbitration complaint was filed by trademark owner Laerdal Medical Corporation at the WIPO. Laerdal had common law trademark rights in “Laerdal” before it filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on October 16, 2000. The Disputed Domain Name – a misspelling of the trademark which transposes the “a” and “e” – was registered by the Respondent on October 11, 2001, nearly one year after the trademark application filing date. Laerdal’s trademark registered with the USPTO on March 25, 2003, after the domain name was registered.

laerdallogo.gifThe Panel found that the medical company’s trademark and the misspelled domain name were confusingly similar. Also, the pay-per-click advertising on the parked website targeted the same consumers based upon offers for competing medical equipment and the registrant did not have any rights or interests in the confusingly similar trademark. Further, the Panel found that the domain was registered in bad faith because it was registered after the trademark application was filed and offered similar products through pay-per-click ads. Thus, the Panel ruled that the registration “was an act of typo squatting and was calculated to confuse Internet users as to the source of and to take commercial advantage of the Complainant’s rights in the LAERDAL trademark.” Click Here To Read The WIPO Arbitration Ruling.

PRACTICE NOTE: You should choose a strong trademark because it allows for instantaneous protection from the date of first use. For example, because laerdal’s trademark is strong, even though Laerdal’s trademark had not registered with the USPTO at the time the domain name was registered, the Panel found that the prior application date was sufficient to establish trademark rights. Fanciful, arbitrary, or suggestive trademarks are strong, whereas descriptive and generic marks are weak. Click Here For Additional Suggestions In Selecting A Trademark.

Filing a trademark application with the USPTO for a descriptive trademark does not provide enforceable trademark rights until secondary meaning can be established, after which the trademark can be registered on the principal register from the supplemental register. The trademark owner learned the drawbacks of choosing a descriptive trademark when attempting to enforce its trademark rights against a domain name registrant in a National Arbitration Ruling that was filed under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (“UDRP”).

Complainant trademark owner B&V Associates, Inc. filed a trademark application for its trademark on July 26, 2000. However, because the USPTO deemed the mark was merely descriptive of applicant’s services, B&V amended its application to seek registration under Trademark Act Section 2(f), 15 U.S.C. Section 1052(f), based on acquired distinctiveness as a result of continued and exclusive use since 1996. On June 18, 1999, a year before B&V’s trademark application was filed, Respondent registered the domain name. The Panel found that at the time of Respondent’s domain name registration, Complainant, as admitted by its Section 2(f) filing with the USPTO, had not established trademark rights because it had not acquired distinctiveness. Accordingly, because Complainant did not meet the initial burden of presenting a sufficient prima facie case showing of enforceable rights in the trademark at the time of the domain name filing, the Panel denied cancellation or transfer of the domain name. Click To Read The Decision.

PRACTICE NOTE: It is best to adopt a trademark that is immediately protectable and enforceable. Descriptive trademarks are not immediately protectable and require a showing of acquired distinctiveness. Click To Read Suggestions On Selecting A Proper Trademark.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is looking to effectively end domain tasting. Domain tasting is the use of the Add Grace Period (“AGP”) to test the profitably of a domain name registration by tracking traffic to a newly registered domain name. The AGP is a five-day grace period that allows the registration of the domain name to be deleted and a refund to be issued to a registrar for the annual ICANN fee. Cybersquatters and typosquatters will sometimes register a domain name, that is a misspelling of a trademark or service mark, and monitor traffic from visitors that misspell the proper domain name or trademark. The cyber-squatters and typo-squatters will then park the domain name and place advertisements, such as pay per click advertisements, and monitor the income for up to five days, cancelling the lower traffic domain names.

ICANN proposes to eliminate the AGP and charge a non-refundable ICANN fee upon registration of the domain. “Domain tasting has been an issue for the Internet community and ICANN is offering this proposal as a way to stop tasting,” said Dr Paul Twomey, ICANN’s President and CEO. “Charging the ICANN fee as soon as a domain name is registered would close the loophole used by tasters to test a domain name’s profitability for free.”

The original purpose of the AGP was logical because it allowed registrars to avoid costs if a domain name was mistyped or misspelled during the registration process. It is part of the .com, .net, .org, .info, .name, .pro, and .biz registry contracts.

WIPO domain name arbitration under the UDRP provides a thorough analysis of a domain name registrant’s rights and those of trademark owners. In HSBC Finance Corporation v. Clear Blue Sky, Inc., Case No. D2007-0062, Complainant HSBC had registered the trademarks CREDITKEEPER and CREDIT KEEPER (plus design) with the USPTO on July 13, 2004 and November 22, 2005, respectively. The domain name in dispute was initially registered by Peter Bradford on January 24, 2001 – prior to HSBC’s trademark registrations. On December 15, 2004, after HSBC’s trademark had already registered, Respondent Clear Blue Sky acquired the disputed domain name from Bradford for the sum of $48,000.

creditkeeper.gifClear Blue Sky argued that it should benefit from Bradford’s earlier domain name registration because it acquired all rights and interests through a written assignment and denied bad faith registration and use of the domain name. Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant prove three elements to obtain a decision that a domain name should be either cancelled or transferred, one of which includes that “the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.” In rejecting Respondent’s “relation back” theory, the Panel found that:

The consensus view of WIPO Panelists is that, while a renewal of a domain name does not amount to registration for purposes of determining bad faith, the transfer of a domain name to a third party does amount to a new registration, requiring the issue of bad faith registration to be determined at the time the current registrant took possession of the domain name. began using the “palantir” trademark in 1996 for providing website design and development services nationally and registered the domain name in 1997. also filed a trademark application in 2002 with the USPTO, which registration issued in 2006. In early 2007, discovered Palantir Technologies, Inc. (“PTI”) was using the “palantir” trademark for designing database software for others and hiring interaction designers and software engineers, similar to also learned that PTI was using the “palantir” trademark for Google’s AdWords service to pay for sponsored search results for the word “palantir” on Google.

palantir_logo.gif moved for a preliminary injunction to stop PTI’s use of the trademark “palantir” in advertising its services. The California Northern District Court granted the preliminary injunction and found that: “ has easily proven the existence of serious questions going to the merits; indeed, the Court finds that it has also demonstrated a probable success on the merits given (1) the virtual identity of the marks, (2) the strength of the mark, (3) the relatedness of the goods, and (4) both parties’ use of the Internet.”

The Court also found that the balance of hardships also tips sharply in’s favor because of PTI’s recklessness in adopting the “palantir” trademark without first searching for any similar trademarks,’s long-time use of the mark, and the importance of the trademark to word-of-mouth referrals. The Court ordered that PTI not use “palantir” in any Google ads and to place prominent disclaimers on its website disclaiming any affiliation with and advising visitors how to access Click To Read Order.