LH.com – A Scary Decision

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The decision has been reached in the LH.com UDRP filing which pitted Future Media Architects up against airline giant Lufthansa. Unfortunately for the Respondent FMA, the domain was ordered to be transferred to Lufthansa, which seems to be a terrible decision, in my opinion. How one company can claim the rights to owning a two letter domain name is beyond me. According to AcronymFinder.com, there are 38 listed meanings for the “LH” acronym, and there are countless businesses who have LH as their initials.
This case is far from over, however, as FMA filed a preemptive lawsuit against Lufthansa in case they lost the domain name via UDRP. It will be interesting to see how this case gets resolved, but as of now, Lufthansa won the first battle for LH.com.
It’s times like these that I wish the Internet Commerce Association had more support and was able to help domain registrants fight large corporate entities. At the moment, we are like a herd of deer being chased down by a hungry lion. The individual chances of one of us getting picked off by the lion are slim in a herd of hundreds of deer, but the likelihood of one deer getting killed is great.
Friends, we need to be like the Water Buffalo in this thrilling video. While the pride of Lions (and even the hungry crocodile) are trying to kill a young water buffalo, the herd returns to save him. As domain investors, we need to put individual squabbles aside and realize that a united and active group of self-protective domain owners can help stave off large corporations. The Snowe Bill was just one thing that threatens our industry. In the months ahead, we will certainly face other obstacles, and it is important that we help each other.
We are a small industry, but we wield tremendous power. Individually, it might be difficult to take on the wealthy corporate powers who want nothing more than to take generic domain names for a song. As a united group, we can stop them. It’s time to stop looking after our individual assets alone and to unify and help protect the domain investment industry.

1 COMMENT

  1. That is a scary decision. I don’t know much about the case, but it occurs to me the only conceivable way to lose would be to have intentionally created confusion with their mark. However, I don’t imagine FMA would do that … so this is likely far from over.
    Still think we need a reverse hijacking ruling that results in financial penalty for TM claims without merit.

  2. If you have generic domains, get a site up there people…..
    “However, here, Respondent’s business model involves the indiscriminate acquisition and use of as many such domain names as possible. The traditional analyses of the rights to or legitimate interests element should not apply in gross when a registrant is not seeking to use any particular domain name to conduct business, is not otherwise known by that name, and has no interest in the nature of the transferor’s rights there from.”

  3. A scary decision indeed.

    From what i’ve heard, someone with enough funds could set up their own registrar to protect themselves from this kind of thing. That and not parking the name seems like the best protection for these kinds of names.

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***
    Incidentally, FMA does have their own private registrar, although this domain name was registered with Moniker.

  4. Big mistake on their part by not transfering it to their own registrar then.


    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    I don’t know why that would matter, as all registrars must abide by ICANN rules, and they are subject to UDRP.

  5. At least one of the panelists got it right:
    “I respectfully dissent. I simply do not believe it is likely that Respondent’s reasons for acquiring the disputed domain name were related in any way to Complainant or its mark, and therefore would not find that the domain name was registered in bad faith, as required by Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.” -David E. Sorkin
    And that’s the point. If FMA registers a bunch of short 2 and three letter domains, I doubt they do it with a particular company in mind.

  6. Let’s all hope David Sorkin remains on the panel!
    “However, here, Respondent’s business model involves the indiscriminate acquisition and use of as many such domain names as possible. The traditional analyses of the rights to or legitimate interests element should not apply in gross when a registrant is not seeking to use any particular domain name to conduct business, is not otherwise known by that name, and has no interest in the nature of the transferor’s rights there from.”
    Since when does a business model that includes purchasing random and indiscriminate investments constitute bad faith???
    Will someone take a look at my investment practices?? I have purchased random and indiscriminate stock in companies in whose companies I will never purchase a single product.
    Please, whoever might feel entitled, file a lawsuit to get my shares in Apple stock – I own a Dell, heaven forbid!
    Go ahead and raid my retirement fund and my daughter’s college fund because your idiot ad agency had the smarts of a peanut. Maybe that is who Lufthansa should be suing.
    Rick Schwartz raised early alarms and very few heeded the call… I am still planning on donating 15% of all proceeds of all my domain sales to the ICA. You can make a pledge to do the same at the TRAFFIC conference in Orlando.
    I think everyone should get on board. It can really make a huge difference. One day it will be “me” or “you” and it will be too late for all of us…

  7. What a NEWS – this kind of outcome makes me sick.
    This retards at Lufthansa should have bought the domian name.
    What will be next some IDIOTIC Company can trademark the air we breath so will all have to pay for the air or otherwise die out.
    tempest Says:
    This is the answer:
    From what i’ve heard, someone with enough funds could set up their own registrar to protect themselves from this kind of thing.

  8. I do like their airline food, though…
    Seriously though, does that mean the publishing giant Conde-Nast can lay now claim to the domain cn.com, which is currently serving as a a China-oriented domainer link portal?

  9. First of all what is term “BAD FAITH”?
    Bad faith, is something, that in our domaining world we call “Profit”
    So from now on, if iam going to buy a house down in central valley, with having in mind that I will earn some profit is considered a bad faith?????? will they take my house away from me????
    This is just easing up the other Gaints to just eat up the little fish.
    Feed one fish to big gaints, they always want more, so good luck to my domainers freinds.

  10. As domainers we need to try to see it from a non domainers perspective to across the board maximize the chances of being able to keep IP that is rightfully ours.
    Looking from the perspective of the general internet users experience, domainers holding up premium domains with parking pages is NOT seen to be in the overall interest.
    It is the perceived hoarding that fuels these biased decisions. If the names were seen to be productively used and not just taken out of use it would go a long way to protecting rightfully owned IP.
    If in 10 years the name will still likely be a parking page, they will try to bend the rules as much as possible to stop this “waste of resources” that could benefit the general internet community.
    The answer is for domainers in general to make efforts to develop good names into what is seen to be productive use, and to make available for sale (when a top offer comes along)
    In reality it’s those who very rarely sell and very rarely develop who help put everybody’s domains at higher risk.

  11. We’ve got to look at the motives behind these decisions – rather than just say how bad they are. I totallu agree this decision is unfair.
    Domainers simply sitting on domains is seen as negative to the general internet community
    I’m unsure why my previous post was deleted?

  12. While I disagree with Lufthansa winning this particular case, I’m quite happy to see FMA losing out of the principle of who they are. Future Media Architects and its like are the leech of the internet, buying many thousands of useful domain names and doing absolutely NOTHING productive with any of them. They just sit on them, pointing them to absolutely useless ‘Search’ engines, denying real companies and individuals fair and productive use. There’s a lot of companies that do this, and I despise every one of them. Fine – park domains to make money out of them – but don’t just hold them indefinitely to the detriment of others if you’re not going to use it in any productive way at all.

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