Cybersquatting Laws & Lawsuits: The Case of the London Playboy

cybersquatting laws and case study
Playboy Inc. won agTLD dispute with a London real estate agent.

Did a competitor buy a domain name similar to your company name? Has a rival created an unflattering website under your name? Are you trying to wrestle control of a trademarked domain name? Kelly / Warner attorneys are well-versed in cybersquatting laws and can help resolve your situation. Contact us.

Self-Identified Playboy Loses Domain Dispute With Heff’s Bunny Empire

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) flogged the online dreams of a property peddling London bloke.

In 2013, regional generic top-level domains (gTLDs) became available. At the time, Michael Ross, a seemingly enterprising Londoner, snatched the domain PLAYBOY.LONDON.

But as you’d imagine, Playboy Enterprises International Inc. – Hugh Heffner’s adult entertainment company – was not about to let that URL slide. But when Playboy approached Ross about handing over the domain, he refused, claiming to be a “London-based playboy with every right to use the domain.”

So, Playboy Inc. – not our self-styled playboy with a lower case “p” — opted to file a review request with the World Intellectual Property Organization via the Uniform Domain Resolution Dispute process.

Unfortunately for Mr. Ross, officials sided with the magazine.

The Anticybersquatting Protection Act

In the beginning, few rules governed the Internet; it was infamously known as the “Wild West” and a few lucky folks made a fortune by purchasing, then selling, trademarked domains. But the unregulated wonderland didn’t last long.

In 1999, federal lawmakers passed the Anticybersquatting Protection Act, which states that trademark holders are the rightful owners of their corresponding domain names. For example, Nike, Inc. automatically has the rights to, Nike.London, et cetera.

Contact A Cybersquatting Laws Attorney

Kelly Warner handles all types of online intellectual property matters. A pioneer in Internet law, our firm has successfully rectified hundreds of Internet trademark and copyright disagreements.

To learn more about our domain dispute legal practice and read more about other domain dispute cases, head here. To learn more about our Internet law practice, go here. To set up a consultation with an attorney well-versed in cybersquatting laws, get in touch.


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