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In the latest World Trademark Review podcast, guest speaker Corynne McSherry from the Electronic Frontier Foundation proposes that the application of trademark law in the online environment, and lack of a safe harbour for intermediaries, allow a number of brands to silence free speech. Our panellists then have their say on the issue.
A number of recent Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) decisions have led to proclamations that the mechanism could be ‘dead to trademark owners’. One influential figure in the IP community disagrees with this assertion, but tells World Trademark Review that the URS is in need of review and could be replaced by a fast-track UDRP.
ICANN has published its first Global Registrant Survey, which reveals that almost half of domain name registrants are unaware of cybersquatting. The findings evidence the uphill battle facing trademark counsel as they seek to ensure that internet users are not duped by those seeking to exploit their marks.
To mark the release of ICANN’s new Rights Protection Mechanism Review report, we have created an infographic looking at the latest trademark protection patterns within the new gTLDs space.
A parody artist who has been entangled in a number of high-profile cybersquatting cases has told World Trademark Review that the “scare tactics” utilised by brand owners against alleged domain-squatters should not be the default option, noting that he has responded more positively to ‘polite’ approaches.
Vox Populi Registry, the company behind ‘.sucks’, is looking to deflect repeated criticism ahead of the planned autumn launch of its Consumer Advocate Subsidy programme. The company continues to promote its Trailblazers Programme, as it hopes to encourage a more positive community spirit on the ‘.sucks’ platform. It has also launched a range of promotional websites, two of which lawyers claim could toe close to the line when it comes to infringing the IP rights of entertainment powerhouse DC Comics.
Over the past week ICANN has been deluged with public comments focused on the use of privacy and proxy services, which allow a domain name registrant's personal details to be hidden from public view. The submissions followed a call for internet users to speak out against proposals, which are being linked to the ill-fated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
‘.brand’ use has long been cited as potentially giving new gTLDs a positive profile boost amongst consumers, with Barclays recently generating headlines over the announcement that it plans to migrate its online presence to the ‘.barclays’ TLD. However, two other ‘.brand’ applicants have adopted a more cautious stance, with a Richemont representative describing the current ‘.brand’ landscape as ‘a desert’ and Volkswagen’s IP counsel noting that the company is in no rush to start using its new gTLDs.
American animal rights organisation PETA is well known for running campaigns that use popular third-party brand names to promote its message to a wider audience. A PETA representative tells WTR that the organisation draws on the expertise of legal counsel to use intellectual property to its advantage - and advises other not-for-profits to do the same.
After a record-breaking double sunrise period for its ‘.adult’ and ‘.porn’ gTLD strings, ICM Registry has announced it is expanding its programme for trademark owners by allowing sunrise B applicants access to its domain matching programme. The move comes at a time when, according to ICM Registry’s legal counsel, trademark counsel are clearly suffering from “domain fatigue”.
One talking point at this year’s INTA Annual meeting has been the marketing offensive launched by ‘.sucks’. During the conference it has been hard to ignore the mobile billboard driving around with ‘inta.sucks’ emblazoned on its side, or to avoid having ‘.sucks’ branded condoms pressed into your hands. We have also heard rumours that more marketing activities are planned.
The comment period for ICANN’s Rights Protection Mechanisms Review closes in two days. With just four comments posted to date, time is fast running out for counsel to help shape the organisation’s review of the trademark protections built into the gTLD programme.
Google’s announcement that it is to omit URLs from mobile search results pages is big news for marketers and web developers. It is also something that trademark counsel need to monitor.
Recent research has revealed the extent of a newly discovered type of domain name abuse. Dubbed ‘soundsquatting’, it is based on homophone confusion of popular domains and the authors of the study have urged trademark counsel to take note due to the high proportion of malicious domains uncovered.
New research into typosquatting has highlighted the increasingly sophisticated methods that typosquatters are implementing to dupe users and revealed a number of trends that trademark counsel should pay heed to.
The second edition of Online Brand Enforcement: Protecting Your Trademarks in the Electronic Environment is now available to view online.
With the launch of its ‘.adult’ and ‘.porn’ TLDs imminent, ICM Registry has expanded on its plans to offer trademark owners wishing to keep their trademark terms out of the hands of cybersquatters access to reduced Trademark Clearinghouse fees.
While not a new phenomenon, over the past few weeks a number of increasingly sophisticated fake news websites have created headaches for media brands. The owner of a number of these sites has suggested to World Trademark Review that more such attacks are planned.
gTLD operator ‘.xyz’ has withdrawn a press release that highlighted a number of brand name-related domain names that were being “released to the public”. The removal followed enquiries from World Trademark Review about the motivation for using trademark terms and highlights the challenge facing those marketing gTLDs to brands.
A brand-hijacked website using the new gTLD string ‘.website’ went viral last week with a hoax news report about the ‘death of Macaulay Culkin’. The hoax spread, in part, because of the authentic-looking ‘msnbc.website’ domain. This issue highlights the risk that new gTLDs will be used to spoof media outlets, which could potentially lose credibility. Our research suggests that further spoofs and brand hijacking could follow, with a number of large media names up for grabs in the new gTLD space.
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