This morning’s Boston Globe has an article covering the TrueReligion.com domain name lawsuit, and it is worth a read when you have a chance. Andrew Allemann previously wrote about the TrueReligion.com UDRP and the lawsuit that followed the True Religion jeans company’s UDRP loss.
The Globe article discusses the legal implications of this case, and it sounds the alarm to domain name owners should the company be successful in its claims. According to the article, “The case potentially has far reaching effects in the battle over who is the master of Internet domains, legal specialists said. If True Religion succeeds, it could make it easier for corporations to force other businesses and individuals to surrender domain names similar to their trademarks — regardless of when and why the websites were launched and registered.”
This case is different than most cybersquatting cases because the domain owner registered the domain name before True Religion jeans became a well known brand, and it’s pretty obvious that when he acquired the domain name he didn’t do so to cybersquat on the True Religion brand. Once his website started receiving larger amounts of traffic, most likely from people looking for True Religion jeans, he began showing jeans advertisements on the website. You can read more about the case and the TrueReligion.com domain name on Domain Name Wire or via the Boston Globe article.
Although the Globe article doesn’t have much new information (aside from insight from legal experts), it’s worth reading because there is a good chance someone you know will also read the article and ask you about it. I often receive emails from friends and family inquiring about a domain name article they read on a mainstream website, so it’s good to know what they’re talking about when they ask.
“he began showing jeans advertisements on the website. ”
..,. and thusly, sealed his own fate.
The formula isn’t some incredibly complex thing that ordinary people wouldn’t be expect to understand. Whimsical trademarks (like Zappos) enjoy almost universal protection. Generic terms enjoy protection for a particular stream of commerce. If you own a generic domain that overlaps with a trademark, fine, but the moment you engage that domain in those same interests (ie, “showing ads for”), you’re cutting your own throat and I have no sympathy for you.
NewportNews.com was no different. You lose your right to cry ‘it’s generic’ when you use it to profit from the eponymous brand.
He’ll lose this and he should.
To have him shut down his site or give the domain to the company would be way over-reaching. He owned it well before the brand. The ads I saw on there were for shoes, jewelry and a phone. No jean ads anywhere.
Judges have much more latitude than the UDRP. Assuming it’s a bench trial, the judge could order the domain stay with the original registrant and that the registrant (defendant) is barred from using the site for anything jean related.
Assuming there’s not a lot more to this story, that very well could be the a judge’s decision here.