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Well, this is a hoot!
ICANN just launched the website from which it will operate its Trademark Clearinghouse. In a nutshell, it’s a place where owners of registered marks can record their mark registrations and get certain preferences when the new domain names roll out. I’ll blog more about this recent development later.
What’s funny is that the website for ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse is www.Trademark-Clearinghouse.com.
Hmmmm. Why is there a hyphen in that domain name?
It’s because an enterprising attorney already owns TrademarkClearinghouse.com (see www.TrademarkClearinghouse.com). Based upon his website, he offers a service to people accused of engaging in cybersquatting regarding domain names. Based solely on his website, he offers a service where you transfer the domain name to him, he tries to fight off the cybersquatting attack, and, if he wins, he’ll sell the domain name back to you for no more than $1000.
I’m not sure whether this business model creates new problems in fighting off a cybersquatting claim, and there could be other legal issues with this innovative approach, but that’s not my point.
Here’s the point: It’s ironic that ICANN has a domain-name availability problem when advertising a program to protect mark owners from having potentially infringing domain names scooped up by others.
Oh, and another thing. Why didn’t ICANN use as its domain name TrademarkClearinghouse.org instead of using a .com extension? After all, it is a nonprofit organization. Its main website uses a.org extension – www.ICANN.org.
That’s because someone else registered the domain name TrademarkClearinghouse.org in March of 2011. A domainer page is there now (auto-generated pay-per-click advertising). Yet another fail by ICANN!