Legal News

Cybersquatting Lawsuit Filed Over Empower.com

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Empower.com is an exceptional domain name, and it is quite valuable. In fact, I made at least a couple of efforts to acquire this one word .com domain name. As you can see in the image above, there are tens of thousands of company listings on LinkedIn for a search of “empower.” According to DomainTools, there are 332 domain names currently registered with Empower as the sole keyword, and more than 63,000 domain names are registered that have “empower” in them.

I believe “empower” is a meaningful and descriptive word, and Empower.com would have substantial value to many companies.

According to an article in Bloomberg Law (subscription required), a Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) lawsuit was filed against the registrant of Empower.com by a company that operates a subsidiary called Empower Retirement, LLC. According to the lawsuit (which can be accessed via CourtListener), “Plaintiffs launched the EMPOWER Brand nationwide in the fall of 2014.” Empower.com has a creation date of July 26, 1994. In fact, the plaintiff conceded that the defendant owned the domain name long before its brand was created:

Tough Loss on Arm.CO UDRP

Global computer chip maker ARM filed a UDRP against the ARM.CO domain name. The company operates its business on the ARM.com domain name. I presume ARM wanted to control the .CO domain name in the event of typos and/or to prevent someone else from owning it. The UDRP decision was published today, and the single panelist ruled in favor of the chip manufacturer.

The respondent did not have an attorney represent him in the UDRP. Although an attorney may have been helpful in responding to a UDRP, I do not think it would have been a good use of money. Legal fees could have cost several thousand dollars, and if an attorney suggested paying for a 3-person UDRP panel, it would have been even more expensive. Spending thousands of dollars to defend a .CO domain name like this probably would have been unwise, particularly since the most likely buyer is the company that filed the UDRP in the first place.

I do not really think this was a great decision, although I am having a tough time pinning the blame entirely on the panelist. The Arm term completely matches the complainant’s ARM branding. However, Arm is a generic word and there are also many companies that have ARM or Arm in their branding. There are many others that have ARM for an acronym.

Green Bay Packers Go After .Net Forwarding to Trump Website

The National Football League’s Green Bay Packers paid $1,500 to file a UDRP against the brand match GreenBayPackers.net domain name. The UDRP was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and it is WIPO Case D2021-1648.

This domain name, which is registered under Whois privacy, was created less than a year ago. In looking at the Whois history records of this domain name at DomainTools, I can see this is not the first time GreenBayPackers.net was registered. In fact, it appears to have been registered several times, by different registrants, since at least 2003.

Rid.com UDRP: Complaint Rejected

A UDRP was filed against the valuable Rid.com domain name at the ADR Center of the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC). The three member panel unanimously ruled in favor of the domain registrant, and the complaint was rejected. The domain registrant was represented by attorney Zak Muscovitch of Muscovitch Law P.C. Zak also serves as General Counsel of the ICA trade organization.

The complainant in this UDRP was Oystershell Consumer Health, Inc. This company acquired the RID lice treatment brand from Bayer Health in July of 2020. The domain registrant acquired Rid.com at auction in 2008. Not only is Rid.com valuable because it is a 3 letter .com domain name, but it is also a one word .com domain name. In my view, Rid.com is easily worth six figures retail.

One reason the complainant filed the UDRP to get the Rid.com domain name is because it believes it is “essential to the further development of the brand outside of the US.” I think the domain registrant’s rebuttal to this was stellar: “merely being covetous of a Domain Name does not warrant transfer pursuant to the UDRP.”

In ruling in favor of the domain registrant, the panel reaffirmed the rights of domain registrants to acquire and own domain names as investments. I thought this excerpt is particularly noteworthy:

Created in 1992, ETC.com is Subject of UDRP (Updated)

A UDRP has been filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against the high value ETC.com domain name. Created in 1992, ETC.com has been registered for nearly 30 years. The UDRP case is WIPO Case D2021-1467.

On the homepage of ETC.com, there’s a note that states “Welcome to the Etcetera Technology Corporation home page! Pardon our dust – still under construction.” An about us page linked to on the homepage has more information about the company that owns ETC.com:

“Etcetera Technology Corporation was formed in 1992 by Randy Smith and Joe Habermann to develop security software for corporate and campus internets. Since that time we’ve expanded our focus to include other aspects of networking and security.

ETC is a closely held company that is currently located in Naperville, Illinois.”

Large Companies Aren’t Immune to UDRP Filings

Merriam Webster defines the word “botanica” as “a shop that deals in herbs and charms used especially by adherents of Santeria.” When it comes to domain names, botanica is a popular keyword, with DomainTools showing 190 domain names registered with botanica as the keyword. In my opinion, Botanica.com is the most valuable of these registered domain names.

Unfortunately for the registrant of Botanica.com, a UDRP was filed against the domain name at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The complainant in this UDRP is a company called Botanica GmbH. I believe this company operates on a ccTLD extension.

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