No Joke: Harvard Lampoon Files UDRP for Lampoon.com

Here’s a recently filed UDRP that is a bit frustrating to see as a professional domain investor.

Harvard Lampoon, a “humor publication” produced by college students at the esteemed Harvard University, has filed a UDRP for the seemingly descriptive domain name, Lampoon.com. The domain name is owned by Reflex Publishing, a company that holds one of the finest portfolios of descriptive/generic domain names.

Lampoon.com currently resolves to a standard Reflex Publishing PPC page with a wide variety of links. From what I can tell, it does not appear that Reflex is targeting or tailoring the links to capitalize on traffic from people looking for the Harvard Lampoon. Additionally, with the “CyberFinder.com” title (found on most Reflex Publishing landing pages), I can’t believe anyone with a brain would confuse this with the Harvard Lampoon website.

Aside from the term “lampoon” being a descriptive word, and in addition to the Harvard Lampoon publication, there’s also the National Lampoon, Chicago Lampoon, and of course the beloved National Lampoon’s Vacation, a great movie starring Chevy Chase. I don’t see how anyone would think they have rights to this domain name. It would almost be like Bank of America asserting it has rights to Bank.com (although Harvard does have a mark for the term Lampoon – see below).

Reflex Publishing appears to have owned Lampoon.com since at the very least 2005 and likely 1998 (records only go through 2005 for this one). Since the Harvard Lampoon has been around since the 1800s, what the heck has the organization been doing for the last several years if it thinks it has more rights to this domain name than Reflex? Why did they wait at least 6 years and maybe as long as 13 years to take action?

Yes, Harvard Lampoon has at least 2 live marks for Lampoon according to the USPTO, but I don’t see what took it so long to try and exercise its rights via UDRP. I wonder if the doctrine of laches would be applicable in this situation.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

5 COMMENTS

  1. As the prices of domains continues to increase this is the sad reality that will continue to happen, there needs to be fines for reverse hijacking, precendence has been established it is to bad, for $1500 someone can roll the dice on a 5-6 figure domain.

  2. Why should Reflex have any rights whatsoever to the url? At the moment it is just a waste of space creating white advertising noise. The Harvard Lampoon is an interesting, historically significant organization and it should certainly have the url if it wants it. As for the other Lampoons: the Harvard Lampoon now owns the naming rights to the National Lampoon (it was originally an offshoot of the Harvard Lampoon, and now the name has now reverted back because of National Lampoon mismanagement. Animal House, Vacation, etc. are all products of the National Lampoon), and the Chicago Lampoon is just a small blog some guy who lives in Chicago writes (I’m sure if the Harvard Lampoon cared enough they could get it to change its name as well).

  3. Actually the generic term lampoon seems to have first appeared in medieval Icelandic courts where “lampooning” — a form of public ridicule — was a punishment for various misdeeds.

    BTW, the Chicago Lampoon is not so small these days.

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