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  • L.A. company denied chance to use dot.com bust Kozmo.com’s domain name

    1. BY - Oct 04, 2012
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 5 Comments

    Kozmo.com may be defunct but it’s domain registration lives on.

    KozmoIn July I wrote about how Los Angeles company Yummy Foods, LLC wanted to relaunch the Kozmo.com delivery brand.

    Kozmo.com was one of the biggest dot.com busts. It raised around $250 million in order to deliver a pack of gum to your house with no delivery fee.

    Yummy Foods has two trademarks for “kozmo” for delivery of food and other goods. But despite Kozmo.com going out of business over a decade ago, the domain name remains registered in the defunct company’s name.

    Yummy Foods’ lawyers got creative to try to convince a World Intellectual Property Organization panel that the domain should be transferred. For example, it argued that since Kozmo.com is defunct it is in violation of United States law and the Network Solutions’ Terms of Service by owning the Disputed Domain Name.

    Here’s what the panel had to say about that:

    …Complainant’s contention that Respondent does not exist raises difficult questions as to the validity of the present proceedings, since both parties must have a legal existence…While this Panel acknowledges the inherent difficulty of securing a domain name from a non-existent entity, and the possible validity of the contention that a non-existent entity cannot in good faith maintain a domain name, the Policy was not designed as a tool for obtaining domain names from defunct corporations.

    The bigger problem with Yummy Foods’ case was that it couldn’t prove that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith. After all, in the words of the panel:

    Respondent could not have known of Complainant’s mark when it registered the Disputed Domain Name. In fact, as Complainant has repeatedly emphasized, Respondent ceased to exist almost ten years before Complainant began operations under the KOZMO mark.

5 Comments
  • Also raises the point of “when a person dies, or ceases to exist, does the will cover properties real and virtual as well?
    That would be an interesting case when you were
    a Domainer for a living, no?

  • Yummy Foods, LLC sounds like they hire dirty lawyers to find clever ways to take people’s domain names away from them.

    This sounds like a new version of a Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) to me.

    Shame on an apparent dirty Yummy Foods. They should be put on the Domain Wall of Shame.

  • Why do you suppose Kozmo.com, Inc. is still hanging on to this domain? With the reputation that they have, you’d think they would want to rebrand if they ever opened up shop again.

  • @ Khalan – I’m not sure that kozmo is the one holding on to the domain. The registrar records contradict the registry records. It’s not clear to me why this domain didn’t expire already.

  • From what clues you gave, Andrew, I’ll hazard a guess that the domain name’s on “semi-permanent lock” either due to registrant bankruptcy or legal dispute. Both circumstances are also covered in the ICANN registrar agreement:

    http://www.icann.org/en/resources/registrars/raa/ra-agreement-21may09-en.htm

    3.7.5 At the conclusion of the registration period, failure by or on behalf of the Registered Name Holder to consent that the registration be renewed within the time specified in a second notice or reminder shall, in the absence of extenuating circumstances, result in cancellation of the registration by the end of the auto-renew grace period (although Registrar may choose to cancel the name earlier).

    3.7.5.1 Extenuating circumstances are defined as: UDRP action, valid court order, failure of a Registrar’s renewal process (which does not include failure of a registrant to respond), the domain name is used by a nameserver that provides DNS service to third-parties (additional time may be required to migrate the records managed by the nameserver), the registrant is subject to bankruptcy proceedings, payment dispute (where a registrant claims to have paid for a renewal, or a discrepancy in the amount paid), billing dispute (where a registrant disputes the amount on a bill), domain name subject to litigation in a court of competent jurisdiction, or other circumstance as approved specifically by ICANN.

    I’ve seen few cases of this in my ex-registrar life. Chances are, Network Solutions will remove the lock once they receive the proper legal docs and so on.

    At least, that’s my guess.

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