A Crazy Cybersquatting Lawsuit with Jason Kneen – DNW Podcast #43

The inside story of a baseless cybersquatting lawsuit.

Domain Name Wire podcastImagine that you’re an app developer who has registered a handful of domain names over the years. One day your twitter feed and phone lights up with people discussing how you’re being sued over one of the domain names you own. That’s exactly what happened to Jason Kneen. A new business starting up in 2014 filed a cybersquatting lawsuit against the domain name WorkBetter.com, which he registered way back in 1999. Jason is on the show today to talk about the experience, and you’ll learn what you can go through if this happens to you.

Also: $50,000 settlement after frivolous UDRP, Stolen domain recovered, Google on new TLDs and Happy Birthday .Co.

Subscribe via iTunes to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, or click play below or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)

Web design company sues GoDaddy over “It’s Go Time” slogan

Company says it was using the slogan first.

A small web development company is suing GoDaddy over its “It’s Go Time” slogan, arguing that it started using the moniker well before GoDaddy adopted it.

Plaintiff The Easy Life, LLC runs GoWeb1. The company says it is actually a reseller of GoDaddy’s domain name services. It alleges that it has had the same account manager at GoDaddy and has been emailing newsletters to that account manager — including the It’s Go Time slogan – since at least October 2011.

GoDaddy applied for a trademark on “It’s Go Time” in 2013 on an intent-to-use basis, and started using the slogan shortly thereafter.

The plaintiff has filed multiple oppositions to GoDaddy’s trademark application.

GoWeb1’s website prominently displays “It’s Go Time” in a couple places, as you can see in the image. However, it may have ramped up this use after GoDaddy filed its trademark application. Archive.org is down at the time I’m writing this, but a Screenshot.com image from late 2012 doesn’t show the slogan on its home page. It shows up in the next screenshot at the end of 2013. The GoWeb1.com “It’s Go Time” slogan has a forward slanting font similar to the one GoDaddy is using.

The lawsuit (pdf) doesn’t have exhibits showing how the company has using “It’s Go Time” for its marketing.

The Easy Life argues that GoDaddy’s use of the term can “damage Plaintiff’s impeccable reputation”:

On information and belief, Defendant’s annual revenues exceed over one billion dollars. Defendant, with its vast resources, is well positioned to exploit and trade on the goodwill which Plaintiff has developed in the IT’S GO TIME mark, as well as damage Plaintiff’s impeccable reputation. Relevant consumers will come upon Defendant’s Services offered in connection with the IT’S GO TIME mark and will likely believe that such services are associated or affiliated with, or endorsed or sponsored by Plaintiff, which they are not. Indeed, viewership estimates of the 2015 Super Bowl during which Defendant broadcast an advertisement exceed 100 million viewers.

Web.com sued for telemarketing calls

Plaintiff complains about multiple telemarketing calls.

Web.comA California resident has sued Web.com, claiming the company called her cell phone multiple times in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit seeks class action status.

Web.com disclosed the lawsuit in its most recent quarterly filing:

On October 31, 2014, a putative class action was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Tammy Hussin, et al. v. Web.com Group, Inc.). The lawsuit complains that the Company allegedly contacted the plaintiff and putative class (which plaintiff alleges may “number in the thousands, if not more”) on their cellular telephones via an automatic telephone dialing system without their prior express consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq. (“TCPA”). Plaintiff is seeking for each alleged TCPA violation $500 in statutory damages or $1,500 if a willful violation is shown. In addition to statutory damages and damages for willful violations, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief. We have not yet responded to the Complaint and discovery has not yet commenced but we intend to vigorously defend ourself.

Click to continue reading…

Affiliate Summit sues hotel booking company

Organizers say defendants are tricky conference attendees into booking hotel rooms.

Affiliate SummitMany people in the domain name industry that go to January’s NamesCon conference will stick around Vegas for the Affiliate Summit conference, which starts January 18.

If you are going to the show, beware: organizers of the conference say a company is misrepresenting itself to attendees in order to sell hotel bookings.

In a lawsuit (pdf) filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, Affiliate Summit claims that Los Angeles-based Exhibitors Housing Services, LLC is cold calling conference registrants and claiming they are “handling the hotel bookings for Affiliate Summit West 2015.”

Affiliate Summit alleges that the company charges high booking fees to people that book hotels through them.

It’s usually advisable to book conference hotel rooms through links on the official show site.

Update: Jothan Frakes, one of the organizers of NamesCon, said he has also dealt with this hotel booking company. It hurts conferences in multiple ways. It often creates confusion and customer service issues among conference attendees. It also means fewer rooms booked on the conference’s hotel block, which has a financial repercussion for the conference. Often times the booking company deal will sound better, but it excludes resort fees.

Company pays $25k to resolve lawsuit stemming from UDRP

Domain name owner that sued after losing UDRP settles for $25,000 (not including the domain).

Companies that file long shot UDRPs with the hope of scoring a great domain name, take note.

An Austin company has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against it after it initiated a UDRP case.

And the company won its UDRP. Click to continue reading…