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Cybersquatting, Trademark and Domain Name Dispute Attorneys: Protecting Domain Assets.

Attorneys specializing in cybersquatting, trademark and domain monetization matters.

1ese1 Managing Partner Enrico Schaefer: "Traverse Legal's attorneys represents domainers like you in portfolio protection matters, trademark infringement threat letters and litigation.    We know cybersquatting and trademark law and pride ourselves on advanced litigation techniques which are both cost-effective and budget oriented.  We also handle a large volume of complex litigation under both the Lanham Act, UDRP and the Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act Because we are a boutique litigation law firm, we know how to strategically and efficiently accomplish our client's goals."

If you are dealing with a domain name dispute based on trademark rights or wish us to analyze your domain portfolio for trademark issues, you may contact one of our domain attorneys for a free evaluation or call 866.936.7447 (International Toll Free).

 

Domain name disputes are becoming more common all the time. Some cybersquatting and trademark infringement allegations against domain owners are legitimate.  Some are not. If you have received a cybersquatting threat letter demanding that you turn over your domain name to a third party or been named as a Respondent in an ACPA or UDRP/ICANN proceeding, you need the help of an experienced domain dispute attorney.  High value domain names and domain name porfolios need to be protected.  We can help protect your valuable domain assets.

05/14/2014

New gTLD Domain Name Suspended by URS

With the offering of new generic top-level domains (gTLD), consumers, domainers and companies can find, purchase and create domain sites that better represent who they are to the right of the dot.  However, this can also create problems for those with already established trademarks and domain Domain for salenames.  

For example, it was recently decided by the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) that a gTLD domain name be suspended because the Complainant met, by clear and convincing evidence, all three elements of the URS requirements:

Continue reading New gTLD Domain Name Suspended by URS >>
05/12/2014

gTLD Domains at Top Auction Prices

There was a massive expansion of new general top-level domain names (gTLDs) at the end of 2013.  Having a more descriptive word to the right of the dot will give consumers, domainers and business owners the opportunity to expand their online presence with a domain name that will better represent who they are or more closely fit to what type of business they have.   Price tag  However, the domain auction companies that purchased these gTLDs did so with a high price tag.  For example, the gTLD extension of .garden and .yoga  sold together for the price tag of almost $6 million dollars.  

So what does this mean for those looking to purchase at the next release of gTLDs? It could mean that domain auction companies or any other businesses looking to purchase gTLD extensions as they are rolled-out is going to have to dig deeper than just in their pocket change purse.  Consumers are learning the importance of a good domain name to have in order to get very high online recognition, so domain auction houses and big businesses definitely know the value of applying for and paying big bucks for the best gTLDs.  

05/07/2014

Your Domain and the TLD Expansion

With the addition of new top level domains, such as .discount and .cheap, being offered, it is highly recommended to brand owners that they take additional registration steps with ICANN to protect their trademarked domains.  ICANN has recently formed the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), which is a global, centralized database of domain names.  The TMCH has been created so that brand owners can submit their trademark information to validate their rights to a particular mark and help protect such trademark holders during the expansion. 

The TMCH provides what is known as the “Sunrise” service period to those that have registered with the TMCH, allowing trademark holders to have priority access to requested domain names associated with their trademarks before the general public is given access to the same.

Another service the TMCH provides is the Trademark Claims Service.  This requires Registries to check new domain registrations against the TMCH database.  Any registrations that match a registered domain with the TMCH, the Registry must notify the party attempting to register the domain name, and then the trademark holder if such party goes forward with that registration.  This allows trademark holders to take immediate action towards any new domain registrations if it is infringing on their protected rights. 

However, registration with the TMCH comes with a price.  Base registration fees start at $150 per year for registration; $435 for a three-year registration; and $725 for a 5 year registration.  Therefore, if a trademark owner has more than one or several marks to register, that owner should carefully plan which trademarks are to be registered and which ones should not be registered with the TMCH.

Looking for additional information that better explains the Trademark Clearinghouse and its services, or get assistance in determining which trademarks to register with the TMCH, contact one of our experienced attorneys

10/29/2013

Do Celebrities Have Rights in Their Matching Domain Names?

    Celebrity domain names are almost always in the news. That's because people tend to register domain names of famous people, politicians and celebrities in order to make money off of someone else's fame. Celebrity cybersquatting has been around since domain names first became available to register.

Continue reading Do Celebrities Have Rights in Their Matching Domain Names? >>
07/30/2013

gTLD Oppositions For Legal Rights Objections (LRO)

Having just completed a number of responses to objections filed to gTLD applications, I have a number of observations. Many lawyers are dealing with the LRO process. Some of the objections that were filed were legitimate objections based on legitimate trademark issues. Many of the gTLD objectons in the LRO process were actually designed only as leverage against the other applicants. They were attempted figurative or design trademark registrations on what are otherwise dictionary words. Those objections have not been dealt with kindly by the expert panelists at WIPO.

As a gTLD registry lawyer, I would say this. You need to be very careful about what kind of oppositions under the LRO process you file if you are an applicant for a gTLD in the future. Do not try and game the system by leveraging bogus trademark rights against other applicants. Neither ICANN nor WIPO will look on those oppositions kindly. These are expert trademark registration and trademark infringement lawyers who are acting as panelists. They know the difference between a frivilous and legitimate LRO claim.

05/02/2013

CAN A TOP LEVEL DOMAIN (GTLD) BE TRADEMARKED?

With all the new GTLDs being rolled out by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the question of whether a GTLD can be trademarked has become the big issue. The answer is relatively straightforward. A GTLD cannot in and of itself be trademarked. But if the GTLD is in fact an indicator of source and origin (i.e., .google, .deloit, .aarp, .censure, .ford, .amazon, etc.) then the GTLD can be trademark protected.

Currently, there are a number of legal rights and objections that have been filed on a variety of GTLD applications claiming that the applied-for GTLD infringes an existing right of a trademark owner. Many of the objections, however, deal with clearly generic and/or descriptive dictionary words. Those GTLD legal right objections will, no doubt, fail because they seek protection of the GTLD itself which is purely descriptive of some vertical (i.e., .golf, .analytics, .apartments, .architect, .art, etc.).  While a variety of trademarks have been filed by a variety of applicants for otherwise descriptive/generic GTLDs, those applicants have typically had to disclaim exclusive rights in the word or have filed design class word marks knowing they can't achieve trademark rights in the word itself.

Below is an example of a refusal by the USPTO examining attorney analyzing the issue and providing the analysis which virtually precludes dictionary words from achieving exclusive trademark rights as a GTLD registry:

SECTION 2(E)(1) – MERE DESCRIPTIVENESS REFUSAL

Registration is refused because the applied-for mark merely describes the field of applicant’s services.
Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1), 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(1); see TMEP §§1209.01(b), 1209.03 et seq.

Top-level domains or TLDs often describe the subject matter or user of the domain space. In re the Dot communs. Network LLC, 2011 TTAB LEXIS 366 (Trademark Trial & App. Bd. Nov. 22, 2011). When the applied-for top-level domain engenders the commercial impression of a top-level domain and the top-level domain operator registers domain names, consumers would anticipate that the top-level domain identifies the registration of domains in the field identified in the mark. Id. Moreover, the TTAB has held that top-level domains are descriptive for other services where the applied-for mark directly conveys to relevant consumers that the services are related to the field specified in the mark. Id. Specifically, consumers would expect ancillary goods and services to be rendered by the operator of top-level domain registry in the same field as the domain name registration services. Id.

Here, applicant’s mark, combines the term DOT, meaning “the character that separates the different parts of the domain name” with [dictionary word], meaning “services that enables real estate brokers to establish contractual offers of compensation (among brokers), facilitates cooperation with other broker participants, accumulates and disseminates information to enable appraisals, and is a facility for the orderly correlation and dissemination of listing information to better serve broker's clients, customers and the public” for services featuring and related to top-level domain names in the field of real estate listings. See Attachment 1 – Microsoft Internet & Networking Dictionary definition of DOT;  see also Attachment 2 – Dictionary.com definition of [dictionary word] and Wikipedia listing for multiple listing service.

Purchasers would perceive the applied for mark as a TLD because it is structured in the manner of a top-level domain. That is, purchasers are accustomed to the combination of a decimal point followed immediately by a term or phrase as a top-level domain. See, i.e., Attachment 3 – examples of top level domains that would lead purchasers to the conclusion that the applied-for mark is a top level domain. When used in connection with top-level domain name registration consulting, purchasers will not understand the mark as denoting applicant as the source of the services, but as conveying salient  information about the services.

Ultimately, when purchasers encounter applicant’s services using the mark DOT[dictionary word], they will immediately understand the mark as an indication that applicant’s consultation services relate to the registration of top-level domains in the field of real estate and not an indication that applicant is the source of the services. Therefore, the mark is merely descriptive of the field of applicant’s services and registration is refused pursuant to Section 2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act.

04/17/2013

Traverse Legal, PLC Successfully Defends UDRP Filed by Non-Profit: No Established Trademark Rights in Phrase "Organizing for Action"

Attorney Brian A. Hall has successfully defended a UDRP filed against its client concerning the domain names organizingforaction.com and organizingforaction.org.  The UDRP Decision to deny the claim matches another earlier, although recent, decision that reached the same result concerning the domain name organizingforaction.net.  While the two UDRPs were separate, involving separate Respondents, separate facts and allegations, and separate representation, the decisions to deny the Complainant's Complaint were both based upon Complainant's failure to establish trademark rights in the phrase "Organizing for Action."  Complainant is a non-profit organization associated with the Democratic Party and supported by President Obama.  Complainant currently operates from President Obama's primary website, barackobama.com, There has already been significant press concerning the background related to the Complainant and these domain name disputes.  See herehere, and here.

Continue reading Traverse Legal, PLC Successfully Defends UDRP Filed by Non-Profit: No Established Trademark Rights in Phrase "Organizing for Action" >>
04/09/2013

Traverse Legal Obtains $74,500 Statutory Damage Award Against Overdrive, Inc. for Bad Faith Cybersquatting.

Traverse Legal's cybersquatting law lawyers obtained a statutory damage award under the ACPA on behalf of their client in the amount of $74,500 against Overdrive, Inc., a distributor of digital products such as ebooks, audiobooks, music and videos, for bad faith cybersquatting and breach of contract.

The US District Court also ordered Overdrive, Inc. to transfer over the infringing domain name "forwardreviews.com" to the plaintiff.

Case Name:  ForeWord Magazine, Inc. v Overdrive, Inc., United States District Court, Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, No. 1:10-cv-01144. The case is on appeal as of March 2013.

OverDrive is funded by Insight Venture Partners, a private-equity firm that focuses on technology companies.  Overdrive’s key products and services:   OverDrive Media Console, OverDrive Read, OverDrive Media Station, Content Reserve.

UPDATE June 20, 2013: "The matter has been resolved by agreement of the parties and the appeal dismissed. The matter is now closed.

03/12/2013

CitizenHawk UDRP Complaint Fail

When you use a service which tends to boilerplate all of your pleadings, you sometimes get what you pay for.  CitizenHawk does a variety of different online brand protection activities.  But a bunch of what it does is automated and boilerplate. 

Continue reading CitizenHawk UDRP Complaint Fail >>
02/26/2013

Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy: UDRP WIPO vs. NAF Arbitration. Which Should I Choose?

A UDRP complaint seeking arbitration to transfer a domain name which you believe is infringing your trademark mark to you and to obtain control of that domain name. A common question we often have is whether or not there is a difference between the various arbitration authorities who can hear your UDRP dispute.

Continue reading Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy: UDRP WIPO vs. NAF Arbitration. Which Should I Choose? >>
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Cybersquatting: 'How To' Resources

  • Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act - Wikipedia
    The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (also known as Truth in Domain Names Act), a United States federal law enacted in 1999, is part of A bill to amend the provisions of title 17, United States Code, and the Communications Act of 1934, relating to copyright licensing and carriage of broadcast signals by satellite (S. 1948). It makes people who register domain names that are either trademarks or individual's names with the sole intent of selling the rights of the domain name to the trademark holder or individual for a profit liable to civil action.
  • Typosquatting - Wikipedia
    Typosquatting, also called URL hijacking, is a form of cybersquatting which relies on mistakes such as typographical errors made by Internet users when inputting a website address into a web browser. Should a user accidentally enter an incorrect website address, they may be led to an alternative website owned by a cybersquatter.
  • Reverse Domain Hijacking - Wikipedia
    The term reverse domain hijacking refers to the practice of inequitably unseating domain name registrants by accusing them of violating weak or non-existent trademarks related to the domain name.
  • Uniform DomainName DisputeResolution Policy - Wikipedia
    The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a process established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of internet domain names. The UDRP policy currently applies to all .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, and .org top-level domains, and some country code top-level domains.
  • Cybersquatting - Wikipedia
    Cybersquatting, according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.

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Events & Conferences:
  • International Trademark Association 2011, San Francisco, California
  • Cyber Law Summit 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Game Developers Conference 2011, San Francisco, California
  • DOMAINfest 2011, Santa Monica, California
Recent Attorney Speaking Engagements:
  • South By Southwest 2010 SXSW Interactive Conference, Austin, Texas
  • West LegalEdcenter Midwestern Law Firm Management, Chicago, Illinois
  • Internet Advertising under Part 255, Altitude Design Summit, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Online Defamation and Reputation Management, News Talk 650 AM, The Cory Kolt Show, Canada Public Radio Saskatewan Canada
  • Alternative Fee Structures, Center for Competitive Management, Jersey City, New Jersey
  • FTC Part 255 Advertising Requirements, Mom 2.0 Conference, Houston, Texas
  • Webmaster Radio, Cybersquatting & Domain Monetization, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Notable Complex Litigation Cases Handled By Our Lawyers:
  • Trademark Infringement, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Cybersquatting Law, Trademark Law and Dilution Detroit, Michigan
  • Internet Defamation & Online Libel Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Trade Secret Theft, Chicago, Illinois
  • Cybersquatting Law, Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act Miami, Florida
  • Cybersquatting Law, Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act Eastern Dist. of Virginia, Alexandria
  • Stolen Domain Name, Orlando, Florida
  • Commercial Litigation, Tampa, Florida
  • Copyright Infringement and Cybersquatting Law, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Mass Tort Litigation, Los Angeles, California
  • Stolen Domain Name, Detroit, Michigan
  • Adwords Keyword Trademark Infringement, Los Angeles, California
  • Trademark Infringement & Unfair Competition, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Non-Compete Agreement and Trade Secret Theft, Detroit, Michigan
  • Mass Tort, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Mass Tort, Tyler, Texas
  • Insurance Indemnity, New York
  • Copyright Infringement, Detroit, Michigan