Ignoring UDRP Trends a Dangerous Game in Today’s Internet

The fragile contract rights of domain owners is very much under assault as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the National Arbitration Federation find themselves headlining some of the worst UDRP rulings to be handed up against domain owners in the past year. And the dangerous trend seems to be that if you buy a piece of the Internet, you’d better be prepared to use it.

Of course, in my opinion, this is analogous to owning a car you don’t drive for a few months. It is kith to any state Department of Motor Vehicles ruling that your neighbor owns your car if you choose to not drive it for, say, six months. It means, essentially, WIPO and the NAF, in addition to the quasi-tyranical ICANN, are once again full of shit.

There was a time when there was a terrible problem with Cyber Squatters. These are the people you have heard about who buy MTV.com, then try to sell MTV their own name for a profit. This is viewed by the people in the domain industry, and by we respectable developers, as a very unethical practice. It is a direct infringement of a trademark, and it should not be permitted.

But what if you decided to register a name like MothersCookies.com, or IronHorses.com? What about Words.com? These are generic terms; they are not trademarked. They are common terms or common phrases that have no business being protected by anything. It would be as though I owned rights to YourGreenCar.com, even though you paid for the car AND the damned domain name! What would ever compel me to believe I had a right to these things, other than a gross sense of entitlement?

So, the question becomes this: What in the world are WIPO, NAF, and ICANN trying to do by compelling domain investors to give up their investments? A list of the worst of the worst rulings, sorted on a vote at the recently-concluded T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2010, found most domains were taken from their owners only because they weren’t being developed immediately or because some clown registered a Trademark right to “blue” or “hi there!” or some colloquial expression.

This is reverse hijacking, and it is an abuse of the Trademark system.

Seriously, now? Use it or we’ll take it from you? WTF are these guys thinking?

The list is found here –>¬†UDRP WALL OF SHAME.

Editor’s Note: The UDRP Wall of Shame is now HallOfShame.com, which lists those found guilding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. HallOfShame.com went live in mid-2013. (Added February 22, 2014.)

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About the Author

Danny Pryor is a media, website and content developer based in Fort Lauderdale. He produces websites, video and other digital media through his company, Rodan Media, and is the executive director of the travel website, TurpikeInfo.com, which he co-owns with his business partners. Danny began website development in 2000, while working with Scoop Magazine, in Fort Lauderdale. His media and broadcasting career dates to 1988, when he began working in news radio, in Las Vegas. He has two awards from the Florida Associated Press, for Best Individual Achievement and for Best Spot News, for his radio news coverage of events in Miami, during 1992.



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