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Name calling may land you in court


So-called abusive registrations of domain names are back in the headlines with disputes highlighting that no-one can assume entitlement to any domain name even if, logically, it might seem they should be able to use names clearly associated with them. 

Madrid recently lost a challenge under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) over The name was used by Easylink Services in its network of geographic domains giving internet users free e-mail accounts in the format of [name] The complainant was Empresa Municipal Promocion Madrid SA, which promotes Madrid to businesses and tourists. A number of trade marks had been registered but all were slogans containing the word Madrid: none was identical to "". 

Under UDRP, to have a domain transferred, a complainant has to be successful in three rounds: trade mark, bad faith and legitimate interest. The complainant failed on trade mark and legitimate interest grounds as there are no automatic rights in a geographical domain without a trade mark or equivalent rights. 

In the case of Her Majesty the Queen v. Virtual Countries Inc, the UK government tried to establish rights to In this case, not only did the government lose, the panel also held that the action was in bad faith and the Queen guilty of reverse domain name hijacking. 

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