US colleges stop serial cybersquatter
Kansas City Community College and George Washington University have won two separate Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) decisions against serial cybersquatter John Barry, making over 20 UDRP and US federal court actions that have been instituted against Barry, eight of which have been brought by colleges and universities.
In the Kansas City Community College Case, National Arbitration Forum (NAF) panellist Tyrus Atkinson Jr ruled that the domain name 'kansascitykansascommunitycollege.com', which had been registered by Barry and linked to the website www.abortionismurder.org, be transferred to the college. Atkinson found that:
- the college has unregistered or common law trademark rights in its name, which it has used since 1923;
- Barry has no legitimate or lawful right to use the name; and
- Barry clearly had registered and used the domain name in bad faith since (i) he purchased the registration for only $29.95 then offered to sell it to the college for $950.00, and (ii) he linked the domain name to a site with offensive images.
In the George Washington University Case, NAF panellist James Crary reached a similar conclusion in favour of the university in respect of the domain name 'georgewashingtonuniversity.com'. Here, however, the university is the owner of 11 federal trademark registrations for its name for a variety of educational and community services.
Cases involving serial cybersquatters repeatedly require companies and other entities to incur significant legal expenses to eliminate noxious hyperlink websites. Perhaps some UDRP procedures need to be revisited to consider whether registrars who repeatedly grant registrations to serial cybersquatters should share in the expense of ridding the Internet of these wrongdoers.
Robert Lyon, Holland & Knight LLP, Los Angeles
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