Just When You Thought Domain Names Were Safe


Speaking of domain name disputes, the Rev. Jerry Falwell may have time now to take up a new hobby. The U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to hear his appeal in a case Falwell filed against the operator of Fallwell.com. That website takes Falwell to task for statements about gays and lesbians. Falwell sued the site’s owner alleging trademark violation and won a district court decision. But the court of appeals last year reversed that ruling, finding the site made no attempt to imitate Falwell’s own site at Falwell.com and didn’t create enough likelihood of confusion to justify a trademark infringement claim. Falwell previously filed suit against another man over his use of the URLs Jerryfalwell.com and Jerryfallwell.com.

The number of lawsuits over domain name disputes seemed to go down a few years ago, perhaps only to be replaced by trademark cases over keyword advertising on search engines. Alas, we find evidence that cybersquatting is alive and well in some corners. Wired.com reports that the names of all 12 of the top Idol finalists this season were registered as .com domains and that at least some of the registrations were apparently made by speculators. Read Squatters Snap Up All Idol Names at Wired.com.