[wg-review] [IDNH] Why domains cannot be trademarks.
I am forwarding the following message in good faith. I trust everybody
on this list will find it interesting.
Hermes Network, Inc.
>From: email@example.com On Behalf Of firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 3:03 PM
Subject: (INTA) A Whole New Can of Snakes
I'm wondering if anyone else has yet run into/dealt with
Cybersquatters and pornographers have apparently come
up with a whole new way of avoiding ACPA and UDRP
problems by making use of "superdomains" (a term I use
for lack of a better one to refer to parts of a domain
expressed before, rather than after, the actual domain
name; i.e., abc.def.com, where "def.com" is the actual
domain and "abc" is just the identity of a registered user
on the def.com site). We recently discovered one such
registered user offering to sell his "identity", which
consists of an exact match of our mark; and several others
using identical matches of our marks in a "superdomain"
way to operate pornography sites on domains owned by
phony entities at phony overseas addresses. There's no
way even to discover the identity of these registered users
short of filing John Doe lawsuits and issuing subpoenas for
the domain owner's records (assuming you can actually
find the domain owner, and assuming, if they're not in the
U.S., that their country's laws will even honor the
subpoena). To the best of my knowledge, none of a
trademark owner's current remedies speak to this issue of
The simplicity of this scheme provides fertile ground for
problems of nightmare proportions. Imagine trademarks
being atached in front of every commercial domain
imaginable with foreign or phony domain owners, and you
have a recipe for total chaos: months, if not years, and
tens of thousands of dollars being spent to deal with every
single infringer with many possibly never being resolved,
during all of which your trademarks are being used in the
most heinous and unfair ways while you stand powerless
at the sidelines of a court system whose dockets are being
choked to death. If I were Al Gore, I don't think I'd be taking credit for
inventing the Internet too much longer.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company