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Posts by hmims

Amazon’s New Silk Browser May be Doomed for a Lawsuit

Although the new Silk browser by Amazon has just been released on the eagerly anticipated Kindle Fire, there looks like there could be potential legal trouble for the new browser in the future. As Stephan Kinsella shows, they may run into some problems with copyright infringement. Read more

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Car Salesman Loses Case Against Dealership After Being Fired for his Facebook Posts

Robert Becker, a Chicago area BMW car salesman, has lost a case contending that the dealership improperly fired him for his Facebook posts. The case, which was brought up on unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board, was focused on sarcastic comments Becker made about his employer on his personal Facebook page.

For example, in one post Becker posted pictures of a sales event where water and hotdogs were served. He made fun of the cheap food that was served and claimed it sent the wrong message to potential clients. He also made the remark that “he was happy to see that the employer had gone all out for the party.”

In another instance, Becker posted photos of an adjacent dealership where an accident had taken place. A salesperson had allowed a 13-year-old boy to drive one of the cars and the boy had driven it into a pond. The message Becker placed underneath the photo was: “This is your car: This is your car on drugs.”

The argument made on behalf of Becker was that he was simply vocalizing the concerns of his co-workers and that he was merely engaging in protected speech. The judge assigned to the case ruled that the first example concerning the picnic food was protected but the incident involving the car accident was not. The judge contended that the accident photos were posted “apparently as a lark, without any discussion with any other employee of the respondent, and had no connection to any of the employees’ terms and conditions of employment.”

This story was originally reported here.

Recent UDRP Proceedings: Don’t Buy Misspelled Domains

In several cases decided recently, the UDRP transferred the rights to several domain names using common misspellings to the complainant. For example, in one decision dated September 30, Google Inc. gained the rights to 37 domain names from Zhou Murong. These 37 domain names ranged from common misspellings to domain names actually containing the word Google. Examples include: gogledeals.com; googeldeals.com; gooogledeals.com; and my personal favorite, googeebooks.com.

Other sites have had similar problems with common misspellings of their websites being used to steal traffic from their actual site. Other examples where the rights to the domains were transferred to the owner of the correctly spelled name are:

  • Etsy, Inc. received the rights to etsyy.com
  • Enterprise Holdings, Inc. received the rights to
    enteriserentacar.com

With all three of these cases, there have been two things in common. First, the respondent has not responded to the filed complaint. And secondly, each misspelled website was simply a host for third party links, occasionally featuring competitor links for the website they were misspelling.

As discussed with other similar cases, the case for transference of the domain rights is a lot easier to make when the respondent does not respond to the complaint. Thus making it a lot easier to establish that the three points necessary for transference:

(1) the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;

(2) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In each case, it was fairly easy to prove all three points due to the nature of the website and fact that the respondents did not respond to the complaint. Because of the common misspellings of the websites in question and the fact that each company had trademarks for their names, it was easily shown that each website was registered in bad faith and was simply created to steal potential traffic from the correctly spelled website. Each case also resulted in the rights to the domain name being transferred to the owner of the domain they were misspelling.

You can read the actual decision for Google, Etsy, and Enterprise by clicking on their names.

Pandora is Faced with a Class Action Lawsuit

Pandora, the popular internet radio website in which you can personalize your own stations by listening preference, is facing the threat of a class action lawsuit in Michigan. The charge is being led by Michigan resident Peter Deacon, who claims that Pandora is breaching customer privacy. Read more

Apple Loses Trademark Request for “Multi-Touch”

Yesterday, Apple lost its appeal and has been denied the trademark for “multi-touch” by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The original application for the trademark was on January 9, 2007, the same day the iPhone was introduced. However, the application was eventually denied, with the decision stating that the, “applicant’s proposed mark is merely descriptive of applicant’s goods.” Read more

Lesson Learned: If you get notice of a UDRP proceeding – defend it.

In another UDRP decision last week, the rights to the domain name Weldon.com were transferred from the owner to the Complainant, IPS Corporation, largely because the original owner failed to respond whatsoever to the complaint. IPS Corporation owns several trademarks worldwide for the term WELD-ON, which is a bonding material for use with all types of plastic pipes. However, the weldon.com website as it stood before the decision of the Panel, simply contained third-party links and a search engine.

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Lady Gaga Says ByeBye to LadyGaga.org: A Lady Gaga Domain Dispute

Earlier this week, Lady Gaga lost a domain name dispute trying to grant her the rights to LadyGaga.org from its owner, an avid Lady Gaga fan. The fan website has already been up for three years and clearly states that it is for non-commercial use and is an unofficial fan-site simply dedicated to everything Lady Gaga.

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