November 13, 2009
The National Arbitration Forum (NAF) published a historic domain dispute decision late Thursday awarding 1,017 cybersquatting domain names to FreeCreditReport.com. The complaint was filed by ConsumerInfo.com, owner of FreeCreditReport.com, through a process called the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), and is believed to be the largest case in the ten years since the UDRP was first enacted. The complete decision is available here.
Interestingly, FreeCreditReport.com was represented in the case by a company called CitizenHawk, Inc., which is not a law firm as would be typical. CitizenHawk and other similar firms such as Alias Encore, Inc. specialize in the automated creation of UDRP complaints using proprietary software, enabling brand holders to enforce their trademark rights at an otherwise infeasible scale.
“The exhibits for this UDRP would have been thousands of pages long, making the case nearly impossible to construct manually,” said Graham MacRobie, CEO of Alias Encore. “Companies have been playing a losing game of Whac-A-Mole with cybersquatters for years, and this case serves as an excellent demonstration of the role automation can play in leveling the playing field by going after huge chunks of infringing names at once.”
Representatives for FreeCreditReport.com and CitizenHawk were not reached for comment.
The disputed domain names were all slight misspellings of FreeCreditReport.com (such as ereecreditreport.com), or they included FreeCreditReport spelled correctly within a longer domain (such as 1-800-freecreditreport.com). The respondent in the case is a firm called Netcorp LLC which had previously lost one other UDRP case in 2005. Unlike that previous case, Netcorp chose this time to represent itself rather than engage the services of a domain industry attorney such as Ari Goldberger or John Berryhill – an interesting and perhaps telling decision considering the complexity of the case.
Further complicating the case was a tussle over the perceived “generic” nature of the brand FreeCreditReport.com. Netcorp argued that “the disputed domain names are comprised of common, descriptive terms and as such cannot be found to be confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.” Ultimately, NAF’s panelist deferred to the United States Patent and Trademark Office which had previously reviewed and approved FreeCreditReport.com’s trademark application.
It would seem that this decision sets or reinforces a fairly strong precedent that trademark holders may be entitled to, not only to the domain name that exactly matches their trademark, but also to a wide swath of other domain names including nearly every possible misspelling or other variation of that trademark, potentially even if the trademark is comprised of generic words.
November 4, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Aliso Viejo, CA (November 4, 2009) – Alias Encore, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded Performer status by Commission Junction.
“Commission Junction is delighted to welcome Alias Encore to Commission Junction’s Performer (CJP) Program. The CJP program is designed for publishers who have a proven track record of delivering results, who work ethically within the CJ Marketplace and want to expand their affiliate relationships,” said Nicole Fini, Publisher Account Director at Commission Junction. ”We look forward to working with Alias Encore at the CJP level to increase their revenue potential and establish long-term partnerships.”
“We’re honored to become a Performer,” said Laura Thompson, Director of Business Development at Alias Encore, Inc. “Commission Junction has been a fantastic partner and we look forward to continuing the relationship and building on the success we’ve had so far.”
Alias Encore partnered with Commission Junction earlier this year, working closely with the Publisher Development team. “After seeking out and recruiting this publisher for management under the publisher channel development group, I quickly realized the potential their business had to offer in the affiliate space,” said Angela Mihalakopoulos, Business Development Manager / Publisher Channel Development at Commission Junction. ”Their team is extremely responsive, very engaged and was always open to our strategic suggestions. They treated us like an extension of their team and offered full transparency to our advertisers. They’re a valuable publisher and have a great offering for our advertiser clients.”
‘We’re thrilled,” said Graham MacRobie, President and CEO of Alias Encore, Inc. “We’re lucky to work with Commission Junction–a great company with great people–and we’re going to continue offering their advertisers the best typo domain-recovery service for the best price.”
About Commission Junction
Commission Junction (www.cj.com) provides advanced performance marketing solutions that help marketers increase online leads and sales. By facilitating strategic relationships between advertisers and publishers, Commission Junction leverages its proven expertise in affiliate marketing and search marketing to drive measurable results for clients.
About Alias Encore, Inc.