Trademark Rights in a Domain?
Domainers often scurry when allegations of cybersquatting are made; rarely are they the party asserting rights, much less trademark rights.
Pamela Chestek of Property Intangible has the heebie jeebies over a recent case under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. In Weitzman v Lead Networks Domains Pvt., Ltd., No. 1:10-cv-01141,a cybersquatting plaintiff asserted trademark rights in its domain names based on its practice of “collect[ing] domain names for the purpose of turning Internet traffic into monetary gain through the use of click through traffic.” In essence, the domain owner claimed that diverting traffic through its “advertising” (read: cybersquatting) activities gave rise to trademark rights in its domains.
As Ms. Chestek points out, the worst part is that the court buys it:
Plaintiff argues that because his advertising services are distinctive and pertain specifically to users clicking on the disputed Domain Names, the Domain Names should fall under the protection of a trademark under the ACPA. The undersigned Magistrate Judge concurs.