The word that comes after the period in a domain name is referred to as a topScott-Hervey-10-web level domain (“TLD”) and there seems to be a TLD for everything. There are TLDs that reflect geographic regions such as “.ASIA” for the Asia-Pacific region and .IRISH for the global Irish community. There are numerous other TLDs that reflect a wide variety of interests, including professions (“.ACTOR” for actors and “.ACCOUNTANTS” for accountants). Just when you think you have seen everything, along comes a proposed new TLD that causes a huge uproar among trademark owners.

Vox Populi Registry Inc. was granted the right to operate the registry for a “.SUCKS” TLD. The stated purpose of the .SUCKS TLD is to facilitate First Amendment criticism of companies, organizations or products.   Trademark owners say that Vox is a shakedown artist and the sole purpose of the .SUCKS registry is to cause trademark owners to purchase expensive domains in order to defend their brands. In support of this allegation, trademark owners point to the fact that Vox will charge trademark owners approximately $2500 and up to register a .SUCKS domain name during the Sunrise Period. (A Sunrise Period is a period of time during the rollout of a new TLD in which trademark owners have the right to register domain names which reflect their brands in the new TLD.) Trademark owners argue that when compared to the registration fee of $249 charged by Vox during the general availability period and when compared to the few hundred dollars charged by other TLD registrars during their Sunrise Period, it is obvious that this scheme is nothing more than “predatory, exploitative and coercive.”

Continue Reading That Would .SUCK

By Jeff Pietsch

Last year, Google lost the first round of a court battle against Vulcan Golf, a golf club manufacturer, in a trademark and cybersquatting dispute. In that decision, the US District Court in Illinois ruled that Google could be sued for its role in serving ads on websites that use domain names that violate trademark and cybersquatting laws. In the latest round of decisions on this case, the court denied class certification damaging the plaintiffs’ hopes in prevailing in this matter.  

 

Continue Reading Class Action Certification Denied in Google Trademark Case

By Jeff Pietsch

Last week Keith Urban, the Grammy nominated country singer from Australia, sued Keith Urban, a New Jersey painter, for use of the website www.keithurban.com. The suit filed in federal court alleges that Keith Urban, the painter, is infringing on the singer’s trademark rights by misleading internet users into believing that the website is owned by the singer. The website, which has been owned and registered by the painter since 1999, sells oil paintings through the website. Upon entering the site users see the following: “You have reached the site of Keith Urban. To those who don’t know, oil painting is one of my hobbies.” Users are then directed to a link which displays several paintings. The singer claims this use infringes on the Keith Urban trademark by violating the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, the Federal Trademark Dilution Act, and federal unfair competition laws. This article will examine the claims against the painter under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.

Continue Reading Will the Real Keith Urban Stand Up: A showdown in Cybersquatting