Blizzard Entertainment Retains ‘Battle.net’ Domain Name – Christian Post

Blizzard EntertainmentBlizzard Entertainment decides to go retain the “Battle.net” branding.

Blizzard Entertainment has recently concluded that it is better for them to retain the Battle.net domain name.

Blizzard is known for developing a wide array of game franchises that have undoubtedly become some of the best titles of all time, including “World of Warcraft,” “StarCraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” and more.

Over the years, the company managed the website Battle.net that was easily recognized and remembered by their fan base. Blizzard is aware of it. In fact, they referred to Battle.net as the “central nervous system” and “connective tissue” for their fans. Blizzard admitted that Battle.net served as the familiar one-stop website that connects its players since 1996.

However, it can be recalled that in September last year, Blizzard announced that the website’s branding will go through a major change.

The company explained in 2016: “We’re going to be transitioning away from using the Battle.net name for our gaming service and the functionality connected to it. Battle.net technology will continue to serve as the central nervous system for Blizzard games … We’ll just be referring to our various products and services using the Blizzard name instead.”

However, in less than a year, Blizzard decided to overturn that decision and will now continue to use the Battle.net branding but with an added “Blizzard” as a prefix to it.

In a recent statement, the company admitted that they were aware that the transition away from the familiar Battle.net name is a rather challenging move.

“Moving forward, to help offset some of the original concerns we listed back in September, we will be connecting ‘Blizzard’ to ‘Battle.net’ in our logo for the service and in general when we refer to it in print: Blizzard Battle.net,” the company explained.

The video game company also recognized the fact that “Battle.net” has been stuck to the minds of their fans all these years and the reaction they received after announcing their decision last year has contributed to another change in the decision.

Blizzard stated that after considering all the fans’ feedback, they agreed that the Battle.net name needs to be retained.

Champagne Bong company loses domain dispute – Domain Name Wire

Complainant has drunk too much champagne.

This is a Chambong. (Photo from Chambong.co.)

A company that sells “champagne bongs” (seriously, take a look) has lost a cybersquatting complaint it brought in an effort to upgrade its domain name to .com.

Chambong uses the domain name Chambong.co and filed the case against Chambong.com.

The owner of Chambong.com didn’t respond to the complaint, but the case was dead-on-arrival anyway. The domain owner registered it in 2005, about a decade before the complainant came into existence.

While panelist David H. Bernstein made the correct decision, he really should have considered if this was a case of reverse domain name hijacking. To the contrary, Berstein even writes “…the Respondent does appear to be using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith,” and suggests that the complainant might be able to pursue the domain through another venue.

The domain is parked with a zero-click service. I don’t understand how this is indicative of bad faith use of the domain name.

Down, but not out – initial adverse decision not bar to future recovery of ‘.ca’ domain name – International Law Office (registration)

Introduction
Background
Unsuccessful at first instance
Successful upon filing further complaint with new evidence
Comment

Introduction

A pair of recent decisions under the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (CDRP) demonstrate that a trademark owner which fails to obtain a domain name transfer at a first panel hearing may nonetheless achieve a favourable outcome upon a second panel hearing. The cases in question, PicMonkey, LLC v Whois Privacy Services Inc (CDRP Dispute 00326) and PicMonkey International Limited v Whois Privacy Services Inc (CDRP Dispute 00337), also highlight the importance of submitting carefully prepared evidence that establishes the owner’s prior rights to the trademark in Canada.

In the second of these cases, the complainant, PicMonkey LLC, was successful in recovering the domain name.

Background

As part of its dispute resolution mandate, the CIRA provides for a summary arbitration procedure to deal with bad faith ‘.ca’ domain registrations. In order to be eligible to file a complaint, a complainant must satisfy certain Canadian presence requirements, such as being a Canadian entity or owning a relevant Canadian trademark registration. In order to succeed against a domain registrant, the complainant must establish the following three-part test:

  • The registrant’s domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the complainant had rights in Canada before the domain name was registered.
  • The registrant has no legitimate interest in the domain name registration.
  • The registrant has registered the domain name in bad faith.

A successful complaint can result in deletion of the registration or transfer of the domain name to the complainant.

Unsuccessful at first instance

The complainant in this matter, PicMonkey LLC, operates a popular online image editing service and is the owner of registered trademarks in Canada and the United States. Claiming prior Canadian trademark rights to the mark PICMONKEY, it sought to recover the domain name ‘picmonkey.ca’, which Whois Privacy Services Inc registered on April 10 2012, just two months after the launch of the complainant’s actual website ‘picmonkey.com‘.

The first CDRP panel ruled against PicMonkey LLC, finding that it had not established trademark rights in Canada in the PICMONKEY mark before the registration of the domain name, and thus had not shown that the domain name was confusing with its trademark at the relevant time.

The date of the domain name registration, April 10 2012, was of vital importance because it pre-dated the Canadian trademark registration date by several years, and the underlying application had been filed based on proposed use of the mark rather than prior use. In these circumstances, PicMonkey LLC had to demonstrate actual use of its trademark in Canada before the domain registration date. The brand monitoring service employed to file the initial complaint failed to adduce such evidence and relied solely on the trademark application and eventual registration.

Successful upon filing further complaint with new evidence

The initial adverse result was not fatal to PicMonkey LLC’s efforts to claim the domain name corresponding to its mark. There is no principle of res judicata in CDRP proceedings and previous panels have held that a further complaint may be filed between the same parties regarding the same domain name.

With a new legal strategy in hand, PicMonkey LLC obtained a favourable outcome. Counsel provided the following evidence establishing two points that were vital for success:

  • evidence of use of the trademark PICMONKEY in Canada before the domain name registration date of April 10 2012; and
  • evidence tending to show that the registrant had acted in bad faith in registering the domain name in question.

The evidence provided showed that, before April 10 2012:

  • the PicMonkey website had been accessed more than 41,000 times by Canadian IP addresses;
  • PicMonkey services had been sold to Canadian customers; and
  • PicMonkey advertising through social media had reached Canadian followers.

This was sufficient to establish pre-existing rights in the mark in Canada.

Further, counsel provided convincing evidence that the registrant had acted in bad faith by taking full advantage of the rights accorded to eligible complainants under the CDRP policy, which allow complainants to obtain from the CIRA a list of all domain name registrations held by that registrant. In this particular case, several of the other domain names owned by the registrant were those of well-known third-party brands, a finding that tends to show that the registrant was cybersquatting and thus acting in bad faith in registering the domains.

The second panel had no difficulty in resolving the complaint in PicMonkey LLC’s favour and granted it transfer of the domain name.

Comment

It is useful for brand owners to keep in mind that an adverse initial decision from the CDRP does not necessarily prohibit the ultimate retrieval of a ‘.ca’ domain by way of a second proceeding. However, in order to achieve efficient results in summary arbitration procedures, it is vital to retain legal counsel who understand the type of evidence that is required for success and can navigate the rules to the client’s full advantage.

For further information on this topic please contact Daniel Anthony or Timothy Stevenson at Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh by telephone (+1 613 232 2486) or email (dmanthony@smart-biggar.ca or tostevenson@smart-biggar.ca). The Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh website can be accessed at www.smart-biggar.ca.

The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.

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Ebay stops Bay Area company from registering domain name – FOX 13 News, Tampa Bay

– A Polk County middle school teacher is involved in a battle against a dot com giant.

It’s not a fight the owner of a Bay Area organic food and natural product website ever expected to have, but now he’s standing his ground for the sake of his company’s name.

California-based e-commerce giant Ebay has stopped Justin Lewis from registering the domain name for his website. It’s an online community designed to help consumers find places that sell organic food and natural products in their area. Its name is Naturebay.

When Ebay found out about Naturebay, it fired off a letter to Lewis. 

Essentially, Ebay says Naturebay is too close to the Ebay name.

In part, the letter reads: “Regardless of your intent, your use and registration of Naturebay for online directory or market place services will dilute the distinctiveness of Ebay and cause consumers to mistakenly believe that your online directory and business is somehow affiliated with Ebay.”

Despite the fact that Lewis does not have an attorney right now, he says he is not going to cave.

“I have 120 students that I have told to stand up to bullying and I am very adamant about that,” said Lewis. “And this for me is living what I preach.”

Rewind: Tucows for $1.00, go-go parking revenue and CreditCards.com – Domain Name Wire

A look back at the domaining world ten years ago this month.

Remember 2007? It was go-go times in the stock market and we didn’t know what was about to happen. The great recession was knocking on the door.

I just took a look back at Domain Name Wire’s archives to see what I was writing about in August 2007.

The top story that month was news that CreditCards.com filed to go public. (The IPO would be delayed due to the market meltdown later that year.)

Back then I was also writing about the strong growth in domain name registrations. Verisign estimated there were a total of 138 million registered domain names and that was up 31% year-over-year. In 2017 we’re looking at low single digit growth but there are now about 330 million registered domains.

Domain parking was still a big deal in 2007 and I was reporting RPMs (revenue per thousand views) of over $100. Those were the days!

GoDaddy was making a bid to run .US, but Neustar ended up keeping the contract.

And there was talk of a bubble in domain names, but I don’t think people foresaw the big fall in domain parking.

Oh, and shares of Tucows were trading for $1.00. If you bought shares then you’d have a 50x return after just ten years!

Will May 2018 be the death of Whois? – Domain Name Wire

Whois will change forever next year.

The future of Whois is blurry.

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into full effect. The privacy regulation will have a major impact on industries that handle personal data of people in the EU, including the domain name industry.

Domain name companies are scrambling to figure out how to comply with the regulation, all while racing against the clock with unclear guidelines from the EU and ICANN.

A sweeping new privacy regulation

GDPR is a regulation designed to protect the privacy of European Union citizens. It will apply to all companies that handle data about EU citizens, not just companies based in the EU.

“The goal is to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals of the EU…to protect personal data and ensure free flow of data within the EU,” said Thomas Rickert, an attorney and Head of the Names & Numbers Forum at eco (Association of the Internet Industry e.V.), which represents domain name registrars and registries.

The regulation aims to minimize data collection and increase transparency. Two overarching principles are privacy by default and privacy by design. So when offering services, privacy must be the default setting rather than an opt-out.

GDPR comes with a big stick, too. Companies can be fined up to €20 million or 4% of their annual turnover. Also, authorities can be sued for failure to take action against those that violate the regulation.

This means domain name companies are paying close attention to GDPR.

On Tucows’ most recent earnings call, CEO Elliot Noss noted “…there will be material impact. It [GDPR] will change the delivery of public WHOIS, privacy and proxy services.”

GDPR will certainly affect Whois and what data registrars collect about their customers, plus who they share it with.

What do domain companies need to do?

All parties that contract with ICANN will be impacted. This includes registrars, registries, data escrow companies and even ICANN itself.

“ICANN is affected by this as much as the other players,” said Rickert. “It’s safe to say that, since ICANN is spelling out the requirements on what needs to be collected and how data is being dealt with, ICANN is also a data controller and therefore the sanction risks are also with ICANN since they’re basically prescribing exactly what needs to be done with it.”

ICANN has set up ad hoc groups to evaluate GDPR and figure out how to handle it. It has created a matrix of data flow in the domain name process and opened it for public comment. It will then need to do a legal assessment to figure out how to comply with GDPR.

For example, it may determine that certain information needs to be collected in order to provide a domain registration to a customer. But is it required that this data be passed to the registry? Should it be published?

The regulations are not entirely clear about this.

“The beauty and the curse of laws is that they are not individual and concrete, but they are abstract and general,” said Rickert. “We need to apply the ideas of the law to this technical scenario that we find in the DNS.”

The default is that data shouldn’t be collected and processed. So ICANN and its contracted parties will need to have a good reason for collecting data and an even better one for publishing it.

The clock is ticking

Process and policy move slowly at ICANN. If contracted parties are to have time to implement changes, they will need to be debated and approved at the Abu Dhabi meeting in October. Don’t expect everyone to be on the same page; law enforcement and intellectual property interests will push back against a reduction in public data.

If push comes to shove, registrars are on record threatening to turn off their Whois when May passes. They’d rather face ICANN’s wrath than the EU’s penalties.

Regardless of what changes are made, registrars and registries will have their work cut out for them.

“We can expect with a high degree of certainty that Whois will not look like it does today,” Rickert said. He also believes ICANN will need to change some of its contracts.

My take

Here are some of my takeaways on GDPR:

  • Expect tiered access to certain elements of Whois. Perhaps they will be available to law enforcement but not the public. The Registration Directory Service (RDS) idea might not be too far off.
  • This is going to be a big cost burden on domain name registrars, especially small ones. They might start contracting with third parties to handle Whois for thin whois domains.
  • Right now registrars handle private information for .com and .net domains and publish this in Whois (thin whois). These two domains are supposed to transfer to a thick Whois model, but don’t be surprised if this is delayed. Also don’t be surprised if Verisign is allowed to raise the price on .com domains after implementing thick Whois.
  • New top level domain name companies are going to lean on their registry service providers for GDPR compliance when it comes to Whois. New TLDs use a thick whois that is managed at the registry level rather than the registrar.
  • GDPR could impact the value of Whois privacy services, which are a big cash cow for many registrars.

Report: Mark Cuban wants to buy back Broadcast.com – Domain Name Wire

The Information reports that Cuban wants domain name for new business.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban apparently still believes in the power of a good domain name. He’s thinking about buying back the domain name Broadcast.com to use for a new company, The Information reports.

Cuban sold the Broadcast.com company to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999. Yahoo shuttered the company and still owns the domain name. The domain name forwards to Yahoo.com.

According to the story on The Information, Cuban wants to use the domain name for a new venture where people can pay with cryptocurrencies for the opportunity to talk to public figures and influential people. The startup itself will be funded through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

How this would be different from a service that lets you pay cash to talk to a public figure is a bit of a mystery.

If Cuban succeeds in buying the domain name, he won’t be the only entrepreneur to recently buy back a domain that has nostalgia. Elon Musk recently bought X.com back from PayPal.