We’re broadcasting from the International Trademark Association Conference in Washington D.C. Over 9,000 trademark attorneys and in-house counsel from around the world are here to talk about brands, brand protections, trademarks, trademark registration. Today, we’re talking, again, with Anthony Don, CTO of keepalert.com a monitoring platform that helps trademark owners and their lawyers gather information about brand attacks on the internet, help them prioritize that information, assess that information and capture that information for future use. Anthony, welcome to the show.
Anthony Don: Hello, Enrico and thank you for inviting me for the second time, here. What I’d like to talk about is the way that Keep Alert can help the trademark owner analyze the result, especially in the context of the cybersquatting within domain names. That kind of tool can be sometimes – the identification of domain names that relate to a particular trademark – can be over reporting. That means that you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of data that is provided to you. Here at Keep Alert, we provide several means to get directly to the most important cases, especially during the monitoring process.
Enrico Schaefer: And Anthony, let me just stop you there, because I see that as a cybersquatting and brand protection attorney all the time where you start talking to the client about these issues and you start showing them where their trademarks are under attack on the internet, and it does, sometimes, feel overwhelming. And what we tell these trademark owners is that it’s not about dealing with every single person out there who’s using your brand inappropriate or infringing your trademarks. It’s about making sure you’re taking reasonable efforts to protect your trademarks and, more importantly, to extend your brand value. So, if someone ever values your company someday, you’ve got the portfolio of effort to show them that you have taken reasonable steps to protect your brand online. So, when I say your system at keepalert.com yesterday, one of the most interesting things I saw was the almost endless ways by which you can filter data and filter reports to get at the things that are most concerning to your client, and that’s what your system does, isn’t that true?
Anthony Don: Yes, that’s true. We’re providing the most useful feature in that context is the content analysis that is done on the registered domains. Each and every time that we get the status or refresh the status of a domain name, we’re also refreshing the use of that domain and we classify them within different meaningful categories, such as is the domain name registered, but not used at all? We can identify that. Does it bring you to an online shop? Does it hold pornographic content? Is it a famous registrar or default pages? Does it hold a parking page, and so on. All that automatic classification helps you to go directly to the potential threats that may occur to your domains. We are also giving you the opportunity to register new domains by identifying the ones that are very close to your brand and that are still available. That’s how you can consolidate your portfolio, and we are also giving you the information with respect to the SEO process. For example, if you register many domains in ccTLD’s, but further de, there’s AT and so on for your trademark, but you do not optimize the usage of the domain name, we will show that to you. Because we are able to detect duplicate content and to group offer url redirections, which is very important for SEO optimization.
Enrico Schaefer: Yes, I saw in your system yesterday. So, as part of this domain portfolio management piece as you kind of start accumulating domains that you think are important that are similar to your domain and trademark, you bring them into the system, you register and then your system will actually tell the brand owner what their portfolio looks like, make sure that the Whois information is accurate and is directed to the person you want to be in charge of your domain portfolio and all kinds of related activities to understand where there may be problems in your portfolio and, of course, to manage your domain forwarding, so If you’ve got a 30 or 300 or 3,000 typographical variations of your trademarks, that you are, in fact, taking advantage of that traffic and moving it onto your primary website.
Anthony Don: Yes, absolutely. And the [inaudible] also are recovering a domain name that is potentially harmful to your trademark. We’re also integrating the references to previews UDRP cases from the main arbitration courts, so that’s to help you to motivate the arguments, the legal arguments, in case you would try reconvert the domain with an UDRP complaint.
Enrico Schaefer: Yes, from the attorney point of view, the thing that I need for my client is to be efficient. I need to be able to get the information, capture the information and analyze the information as quickly as possible because return on investment and cost is a primary concern. If I can do ten times as much and ten times faster in terms of getting from identifying the problems to capturing the evidence I need to do something about it, that leaves the trademark owner a lot more money and resources and time to devote to actually getting those domain names back and putting out the fires and solving the problems. And when you hire an attorney who is simply is doing a kind of an ad hoc approach, once the person happens to see a problem and then they go after it. That’s not strategically a very good way to approach online brand protection. You really need to be making good, informed, strong decisions about what is most important to go after, what’s going to add the most value to your trademark if you are able to capture that domain.
Now, I want to talk a little bit about one of the really important features of your system, which is its ability to capture screenshots. It’s capturing historical Whois data. It’s keeping a chronological list of information that the trademark attorney is going to need moving forward in order to protect the brand. Give me the types of things that your system does in terms of capturing and storing important information and screen captures.
Anthony Don: So, well, as you told, when you’re monitoring [inaudible] a trademark, you can choose which frequency you want to refresh the status of your domain name portfolio. On that occasion, we will refresh the screen [inaudible] of the website, as well as the Whois information that is associated to the domain, and we will also refreshing the automatic classification of the use of the domains. All that information is kept on our databases for the duration of your subscription. So, it will allow you, for example, to track such things as bad faith uses, as a domain name, it is not linked to any website, then one month later, you will find a parking page on it, and then months later, you will find an online shop. With that, is total recall data. You will be able to build and put together all the intention of the domain owner and to show how his intention is to use that in bad faith by trying [inaudible] ways of getting profit on the domain name, first trying a parking page and then trying to put an online shop on that. So, the platform basically allows you to get this data, keep this data forever and help you to save time, building the actual reports that you can print and use to support your legal arguments.
Enrico Schaefer: Sure, and the bad faith factor is the key. I mean, you have to show cybersquatting under the UDRP, cybersquatting under the ACPA and all the variations of those across the world. There’s a bad faith intent element, meaning that you have to somehow get beyond the denial of the registrant that they didn’t mean to do anything wrong, that they we not aware of the trademark, that they didn’t intend to profit, that it was a non-commercial use, you need historical data in order to really be able to get beyond those issues and show that the domain registrant was, in fact, trying to profit from your trademarks from the get-go. And the way that we as attorneys tend to do that if we do not have a system such as Keep Alert in place, is to put a paralegal on to go do screen captures, but that is a highly inefficient, highly cost intensive system and doesn’t keep tracking as your system does into the future, so if there’s a change, it’s automatically captured and an alert is sent to you about that change.
Anthony Don: Yeah, and I would like to [inaudible] insist on the fact that what is important is to track the use that is done of the domain name. It’s not just enough to identify newly created domains because, often, the first use of the domain – a couple of days after its registration – is not meaningful and is not enough to make your mind about the danger that may represent to your trademark. You have to refresh its state over time to be able to get the information on when this domain will become harmful to your trademark.
Enrico Schaefer: Yes.
Anthony Don: Yes.
Enrico Schaefer: excellent, Anthony, it’s been great having you here on Cybersquatting Law Radio, the CTO of KeepAlert.com, a really impressive online system. It’s cost-effective for trademark attorneys and in-house counsel to protect their trademarks, their brands on the internet which is becoming so critical, just one short story that I think is so important for trademark owners and their attorneys to understand is that if you don’t do something to protect your trademarks on the internet, the very first thing you’ll hear when you go to send a threat letter to someone, or you file a lawsuit, is they will point to all the other people who are also infringing your trademarks. And you can get hit with laches argument, where a court actually rules that you’ve waived your right to enforce your trademark, that you don’t have any trademark rights despite your trademark registration because you didn’t do enough to protect it. And so, this kind of system is really important.
Anthony, great having you here today, best of luck in the future.
Anthony Don: Thank you, Enrico. Bye-bye.