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A new federal lawsuit charges that Dotster, one of the largest domain name registrars, has unlawfully participated in a massive cybersquatting campaign targeting companies such as Cingular Wireless, Disney, Ikea, Google, Neiman Marcus, Playboy and Verizon.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday by high-end retailers Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, alleges that Dotster abused its status as a registrar by "checking out" hundreds of domain names that closely resemble the correct ones--and then keeping only the ones that were visited by Web users who couldn't spell very well.
While other registrars have been accused of this practice, and typosquatting has even been the target of a Microsoft Research project called "Typo-Patrol," this appears to be the first dispute with a registrar that's led to a lawsuit.
"What's unusual about (the allegation) is that it's not just any cybersquatter, it's a registrar, which is a problem," said Ann Ford, the managing partner of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary's Washington, D.C., office, who specializes in trademark and copyright law.
I've been waiting to see an effort to apply a broader remedy than the "1 domain at a time WIPO/NAF" approach. I've seen multi-domain WIPO filings, but they've focused on a single registrant. This is close to what I've envisioned, but I'm still waiting to see the PPC feed providers - who share in the profits of this ill-conceived practice - made a party.
Typosquatting is a Hydra like beast that you can only stop by cutting off all of its heads. In the case of famous mark typosquatting the heads include the registrants and the PPC feed providers or other income providers (affiliate programs, etc.) Kill the revenue stream and you kill the incentive for the practice.
An "artful" lawsuit must narrow the focus to clear, non-generic word/phrase, domain typo registrations, ones that are then matched with keywords and keyword phrases on PPC landers indisputably designed to exploit the brand's errant clientele.
It would be palpably disingenuous to argue that variations of "Neiman Marcus" or "Burgdort Goodman" typos are generic, especially when the landers attempt to exploit the interests of those brand's traffic.
Maybe Bergdorf Goodman ought to wake up and smell the coffee - the age of knowing how (or bothering) to spell correctly is over. They need a better name for their web presence. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests there are more potential typos for their name than there are atoms in the universe.
Guys, just give up already; change your name to Dorfster or Bergle or something.
The domain which I wanted too was registered in the name of a korean. I used #*$! to find that nearly 21000 domain are registered using this company name
And the real turing point is that all of them are registered with DOTSTER...
[edited by: Webwork at 1:39 pm (utc) on June 10, 2006]
[edit reason] WebmasterWorld TOS - Please no "outings" [/edit]
The WIPO has ruled against them in over 200 domain name disputes, although it has also upheld their claim in a few others.
For instance Porsche isn't a directnic fan:
This type of thing has been going for awhile it appears to me.