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UDRP: “Geographic Names Are Not Subject to Trademark Protection”

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In the last year, I've probably received 5 or 6 emails from people who had concerns that geographic domain names could be risky to own in the event a city or municipal jurisdiction files a complaint or lawsuit, despite a number of cases where the domain owner retained the domain name. Some of these cases include Pocatello.com, MyrtleBeach.com, Barcelona.com, StMoritz.com, and others.

In a UDRP dispute decision that should pacify any concerns about geodomain names, LomaLinda.com was retained by Nat Cohen's company, StateVentures, LLC , which was represented by Ari Goldberger of ESQwire.com Law Firm. The Complainant was Loma Linda University Medical Center, which claimed to have rights to the Loma Linda mark.

Although there was a dissenting opinion, panelist Richard Page made a statement in his dissent which should be noted by geodomain owners: "the general rule that geographic names are not subject to trademark protection."

The reason for the dissenting opinion is that Loma Linda was apparently used by the Complainant's → Read More