Walmart.horse is put out to pasture after retailer starts domain dispute

24 06 2015

[ed.: here, the big guy chills the little guy, even though the little guy would probably win]

Comic artist Jeph Jacques was so amused when the .horse top level domain was created he decided to make a new website: walmart.horse. The site portrayed an unexplainably funny picture of a horse in front of a Walmart store (above).

Walmart didn’t get the joke. In March, they sent Jacques a cease-and-desist letter telling him that the site infringed their trademark. Jacques responded, saying his site was fair use because the horsey site was an “obvious parody.” If Walmart had other animals it wanted to add to the website, he added cheekily, “I would happily comply!”

Two months later, Walmart had enough of this horsing around. The company didn’t drop the issue, instead filing papers with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and initiating a domain name dispute. It’s a procedure that’s meant to knock out cybersquatters.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/05/walmart-horse-is-put-out-to-pasture-after-retailer-starts-domain-dispute/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Microsoft sues tech support scammers for trademark violation, false advertising

19 12 2014

In the latest fight back against tech support scammers, Microsoft has sued firms in California and Florida complaining of trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, cybersquatting, and deceptive trading practices.

This comes after similar FTC action against scammers in Florida.

In its complaint, Microsoft notes that tech support scamming is a big money-maker. It estimates that it costs Americans $1.5 billion a year, with $179 million from 390,000 victims being taken in California alone. Over a six month period this year, the company also received some 65,000 complaints relating to the scams.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/microsoft-sues-tech-support-scammers-for-trademark-violation-false-advertising/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Court Declines to Review LRO to [.delmonte], Saying gTLDs Aren’t ‘Domain Names’ for Cybersquatting Purposes

11 02 2014

A Swiss Del Monte entity that had a license to use the “DEL MONTE” mark applies to operate the .delmonte generic top level domain (gTLD). Another Del Monte entity, based in Delaware, filed a “legal rights objection” (under WIPO-established procedures) to the Swiss Del Monte’s application. A three member panel sustained the Delaware company’s LRO. (Here’s a .pdf link to the panel decision.) The Swiss entity sued in federal court seeking a declaration that it had sufficient rights in the “DEL MONTE” mark to operate the TLD and that it was not violating the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA, the cybersquatting statute) in doing so. The Swiss entity further sought an injunction requiring the Delaware entity to withdraw its LRO.

The court says an initial question is whether it has jurisdiction. . . .

Is a gTLD a “Domain Name”?

On the key question of whether plaintiff’s application to operate the .delmonte TLD implicates the ACPA, the court says it’s a matter of first impression. Generally, courts ignore the TLD in the context of the trademark analysis (i.e., acme.com is treated the same as “acme” for trademark purposes). Nevertheless, the case law is largely inconclusive.

The court looks to the text of the ACPA and says it’s equivocal:

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2014/02/court-declines-to-review-lro-to-saying-gtlds-arent-domain-names-for-cybersquatting-purposes.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Ninth Circuit Kills Contributory ACPA Cybersquatting Doctrine–Petronas v. GoDaddy

11 12 2013

A domain name registrant transferred the petronastower.net and petronastowers.net domain names into GoDaddy and used GoDaddy’s name forwarding service to direct them to (NSFW) canfunchat.com. Petronas asked GoDaddy to turn over the domain names to Petronas. GoDaddy declined. Petronas sued, and after conducting limited discovery, the district court dismissed the case.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit considered whether the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) provides for a cause of action for contributory cybersquatting. A few district court cases had said such a cause of action is available, albeit in “exceptional circumstances” (see the Shah and Namecheap rulings). The Ninth Circuit flatly says the ACPA does not provide for contributory liability. The court gives two reasons for its conclusion.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/12/ninth-circuit-kills-contributory-acpa-cybersquatting-doctrine-petronas-v-godaddy.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Buyers of Michael Jackson’s Assets from a Storage Locker Auction Can’t Set Up Paywalled Tribute Website–Branca v. Mann

17 09 2012

[Post by Jake McGowan]

Branca v. Mann, CV 11-00584 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 10, 2012)

When a celebrity goes bankrupt or forgets to pay a bill for his/her physical-space storage locker, opportunists may swoop in and purchase the goods so they can try and turn a profit reselling them. But sometimes, these buyers get a little overzealous–they convince themselves that their interest in the tangible property gives them an interest in some of the celebrity’s underlying intellectual property rights. This leads to poorly designed pay-for-access websites with risqué names like “parisexposed.com.”

A district court in California heard one of these storage locker disputes in Branca v. Mann, where the defendants set up a pay-for-access website relating to the late Michael Jackson. The court lowered the boom on August 10th, granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs for a long list of claims including copyright infringement, false designation of origin, misappropriation of likeness, cybersquatting, and so on.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/09/buyers_of_micha.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.