Top 5 Most Interesting Domain Name Cases

The Top 5 Most Interesting Domain Name Cases

5. Express Media Group, LLC, et al v. Express Corporation.

In the case of Express Media Group, LLC, et al v. Express Corporation, a dispute began over the domain name EXPRESS.COM. In this case Express Corporation stated that they purchased the domain name EXPRESS.COM for $150 000 from a person who was suppose to be the domain name's administrative contact on the Whois registry, but in actuality, the seller was an impostor. When Express Media group discovered their domain name had been transferred, they requested that their domain name be returned to them

This case is important because it shows that a purchaser cannot rely solely on a Whois registry when purchasing a domain name.

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4. United States of America v. John Zuccarini

In this case, a man by the name of John Zuccarini registered thousands of domain names in "bad faith." They consisted of slight variation of popular children's domain names to generate advertising revenue for advertisers of pornographic websites. He did this through a method called "mouse trapping," in which an internet user who mistakenly types in a name incorrectly would be led to his webpage in which they would be flooded with a barrage of pop up advertisements for pornography or gambling, internet users found the pop ups extremely difficult to navigate through.[1] In April 2003, a law entitled "The Truth in Domain Names Act" was introduced to prevent Mr. Zuccarini and others from misleading internet users.[2] This case is important because it is the world most notorious cyber squatting case.

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3. Verizon Communications Inc. v. OnlineNIC Inc.

In the case of Verizon Communications Inc. v. OnlineNIC Inc. Verizon sued OnlineNic Inc. for "bad faith registration" of approximately 663 identical or similar domain names using Verizon's family of marks, such as "verizononline" and "accountverizonwireless"

The case was settled on December 24, 2008 in the North District of California Federal Court with the amount of $33.15 million awarded to Verizon.[3] This case is important because this was the largest amount awarded in a cybersquatting case.

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2. Emall.ca Inc. v. Cheap Tickets and Travel Inc.

In the case of Emall.ca Inc. v. Cheap Tickets and Travel Inc. the dispute started with a domain name arbitration over CHEAPTICKETS.CA, which the Complainant travel agency lost at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). The Complainant then brought a lawsuit for trademark infringement against the domain name owner. In response, the domain name owner commenced a separate proceeding to expunge, or cancel, the Complainant's trademarks for CHEAP TICKETS and for CHEAP TICKETS AND TRAVEL & Design. The Federal Court ruled in favour of the domain name owner and ordered that the trademarks be canceled because, they are descriptive terms and "one company should not have a monopoly of these phrases ["cheap tickets" and "cheap tickets and travel] in connection with its travel business."[4]. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld Justice Strayer's decision from the Federal Court, and the domain name remains with the domain owner, and the Complainant's trademarks remain expunged. This case is important because it shows that one company cannot have a monopoly on a descriptive term or phrase, and that an owner of a descriptive domain name has every right to it.

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1. Kremen v. Cohen

In the case of Kremen v. Cohen, a man by the name of Gary Kremen registered a domain name website entitled Sex.com in which people can access pornography websites. Initially, he did not use the site because he was preoccupied with his other internet businesses, such as match.com. Subsequently, the registrar of the web address, Network Solutions, received a letter, which turned out to be fraudulent, stating that "the company [online classifieds] had been forced to dismiss Mr. Kremen but never got around to changing [their] administrative contact with the internet registration and now [their] board of directors had decided to abandon the domain name Sex.comthis letter shall serve as our authorization to the internet registration to transfer Sex.com to your corporation."[5] Network Solutions took the letter at face value and transferred the domain name to Cohen, without contacting Mr. Kremen. When Mr. Kremen contacted Network Solutions to question why his domain name was not working, he was told that a transfer had already occurred and it was too late to undo the transfer. Mr. Kremen took Mr. Cohen to District court where the letter sent to Network Solutions was found to be forgery and Mr. Cohen was ordered to return the domain name and any profits he sustained. Mr. Kremen was also awarded $40 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.[6] Unfortunately, Mr. Cohen ignored court orders and fled the country. He was arrested in Mexico for immigration violation and handed over to American authorities. On December 5, 2006 he was released from jail. This case is the most important domain name case because it was the first case to state that domain names are personal property.

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[1]Katamoto, Dawn. "Man arrested in domain deceit." Cnet News. 3 Sept. 2003. Web. 3 Sept. 2009. <http://news.cnet.com/Man-arrested-in-domain-deceit/2100-1025_3-5071133.html>.
[2] Ibid.
[3]Rabe, Eric. "Court Awards Verizon Largest-Ever Judgment In a Cybersquatting Case." Verizon. 24 Dec. 2008. Web. <http://newscenter.verizon.com/press-releases/verizon/2008/court-awards-verizon.html>.
[4]Cheap Tickets and Travel Inc. v. Emall.ca Inc., 2008. FCA 50
[5] Kremen v. Network Solutions. Inc., 2003. CV-98-20718-JW
[6]Ibid.

By: Natalie Ledra

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