Author succeeds in obtaining 'michaelcrichton.com'

International

A panel from the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre has ordered the transfer of the domain name 'michaelcrichton.com' to author Michael Crichton.

Alberta Hot Rods of Canada registered the domain name in 1996 to link to its website celebrity100.com. Although the site contains commercial advertisements, no mention was made of Crichton or his works other than one reference to the movie Jurassic Park, which was based on a book by Crichton.

Pursuant to Paragraph 4(a) of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), Crichton contended that:

  • his name has become a famous common law trademark and the disputed domain name is identical to that mark;

  • Alberta Hot Rods has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and

  • Alberta Hot Rods had registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.

Alberta Hot Rods, which lost a domain name decision to actor Kevin Spacey over 'kevinspacey.com' in August 2002, did not respond to Crichton's contentions.

The panel found that Crichton satisfied all three of the UDRP's requirements for the transfer of the domain name.

Celebrities like Crichton are enjoying some success in fighting cybersquatters that use their names as domain names, particularly where there is evidence of bad faith. For discussion of similar outcomes, see Dalí estate wins first '.name' dispute and Fan club forced to find alternative to 'DaleEarnhardtIncorporated.com'. For discussion of a different outcome, see Albert Einstein's heir loses domain name dispute.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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