Interessante. [www.newsfactor.com] AOL Loses Domain Name Dispute

Andy Mueller-Maguhn (by way of chiari mario <chiari.hm@flashnet.it>) andy a CCC.DE
Sab 3 Mar 2001 10:55:01 CET


AOL Loses Domain Name Dispute

Daniel F. DeLong

www.NewsFactor.com

February 28, 2001

In a story reminiscent of David and Goliath, an obscure Russian computer
programmer has beaten mighty America Online (NYSE: AOL - news) in an online
Web address ruling issued by an arbitrator hired by the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO).

The United Nations-supported group's arbitrator ruled the giant Internet
service provider won't be able to take back ICQPlus.org -- a domain name
closely resembling AOL's popular instant messesnger (IM) software. As a
result, millions of Internet users can continue downloading IM software at
ICQPlus.org despite AOL's claim to the name.

Vadim Eremeev of St. Petersburg, Russia, will keep the domain name because
he doesn't charge for the popular software he promotes on a Web site at
that address, ruled Petter Rindforth, an arbitrator assigned by WIPO's
Arbitration and Mediation Center to handle the dispute.

AOL Felt Threatened

Eremeev's ICQ Plus freeware program has been downloaded by millions of
instant messenger users, and Dulles, Virginia-based AOL considered that to
be a threat.

In the past year, AOL has used a quick dispute-resolution process to
retrieve dozens of Internet addresses bearing AOL trademarks.

In a complaint filed with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN), AOL said Eremeev was taking advantage of its ICQ
trademark, which the company regularly uses in combination with other
words, such as ICQphone and ICQmail.

Near-Perfect Record

AOL has a near-perfect record of successfully reclaiming scores of Internet
domain names claimed under ICANN's Uniform Domain Names Dispute Resolution
Policy (UDRP), nearly all of which were related to ICQ or AOL Instant
Messenger software.

More than 5,500 domains have been submitted for UDRP deliberation since the
process started, and more than 100 were named in complaints filed by AOL,
and about 30 of them contained the letters "ICQ."

Only a few of the AOL cases have gone against the company, and, until now,
the company had yet to lose a decision involving its ICQ-related domain.

Cybersquatters Wanted Money

In previous cases, WIPO arbitrators had found that holders of the "ICQ"
domains were simply cybersquatters out to make money. In an earlier dispute
over the domain ICQGuide.com, the owner had tried to sell the domain to AOL
for US$99,000.

WIPO arbitrators also found that 4!CQ.com, NetICQ.com and ICQ2Me.com were
using their domains to promote online chat services, while ICQPornJokes.com
and FreeICQSex.com were used to promote adult Web sites and were tarnishing
AOL's trademark.

Rindforth, head of the information technology law department at a law firm
in Stockholm, Sweden, ruled that Eremeev was not using the address for
commercial purposes, nor would its use hurt AOL's reputation.

Two Rejected

Only two other complaints filed by AOL have been rejected. In January, WIPO
arbitrator Jeffrey Samuels sided with domains AOLTrader.com and
AOLVacations.com.

Samuels, a professor at the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio,
ruled that a Springfield, Illinois stockbroker, Frank Albanese, was making
fair use of AOLTrader.com as an online source of information for those who
invest in AOL Time Warner stock.

The arbitrator also ruled that Transoceanic Travel of Lyndhurst, New
Jersey, had a valid claim on AOLVacations.com, endorsing an assertion from
the firm that its domain name stood for "Alfonso On Line Vacations" and was
named after owner Alfonso Albunia.

"It seems clear to me that the two companies involved had such a narrow
focus that they posed no threat to America Online," Samuels told NewsFactor
Network.

Samuels added that he expects to see more complaints because AOL has become
a household name.



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