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Jay Leno Tries to Tackle Cybersquatting Problem

Comedian files claims for three domain names, but still hasn’t done anything with JayLeno.com

Comedian Jay Leno has filed claims with World Intellectual Property Organization to get three domain names: jaylenoshow.com, weeknightswithjayleno.com, and thejaylenoshow.com. Now if only he’d do something with JayLeno.com, which he picked up last year.

JayLenoShow.com’s whois record is protected by domain privacy and is parked at HitFarm. Weeknightswithjayleno.com is owned by a Wisconsin man. A phone call to the phone number in whois for the domain name went to a voice mail recording for a roofing company.

TheJayLenoShow.com is registered to real estate agent Javier Zambrano in Katy, Texas, and the domain name forwards to his real estate web site.

Contacted by phone this morning, Zambrono said he’s going to fight the claim in arbitration. He says the domain name doesn’t bring him any additional real estate business.

“Nobody looking for homes is going to go to that domain,” said Zambrono. He claims there was no trademark on the name when he registered it.

Leno’s employer and NBC parent company GE picked up the domain name JayLeno.com last year from Anything.com Ltd., the same company that coughed up JerrySeinfeld.com when comedian Jerry Seinfeld realized he wasn’t really master of his domain. (No arbitration was filed for JayLeno.com, so the circumstances of the transfer to GE are unknown.)

The kicker: GE hasn’t done anything with the domain name nor its nameservers, and it still resolves to an old “unofficial fan site”. Even more humorous is that NBC’s web site rates Jay Leno fan sites. One of the sites it rates is JayLeno.com.

Someone should teach GE how to set up domain forwarding.

Photo from NBC.com.

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  1. jp says

    Whois shows General Electric (GE) is the owner of JayLeno.com. Is Jay associated with GE? When you go to the website it also states: This site is an unofficial fan site and is not endorsed or authorized by Jay Leno, or any party other than the owner of this web site.

    I’m confused on this one. I’ve got no idea what’s going on.

    • Andrew Allemann says

      JP – that’s what I was saying. GE owns NBC. They got the domain but then didn’t change the nameservers, so it still shows the “unofficial web site’

  2. Javier Zambrano says

    First, the name is Zambrano, not Zambrono. I’ve had this domain for 5 years, it’s not untill now, when Mr. Leno is getting his own show that he is trying to get it. The domain should belong to the person who aquires it, not to who can do more with it. No doubt Mr. Leno can o a lot more with it than me, and so can the hundreds or thousands of Jay Lenos in the world, do they also have a right to the domain? The domain was registered long before Mr. Leno got his own show, and I am not using the domain in any way to tarnish Mr. Leno’s name or reputation. The point is: should the domain belong to who registers it? or to who can do more with it? the answer to me is clear.

    • Andrew Allemann says

      My advice would be to talk to a good domain name attorney. I’m looking at this objectively and have read hundreds of cases. Talk to someone who had defended dozens of UDRP cases.

  3. jp says

    Fun!

    Regarding my 1st post, sorry Andrew my brain must not be firing on all of its cylinders today.

  4. M. Menius says

    @Zambrano – My opinion is that you have been ill advised by your attorney. Jay Leno will argue that the domain containing his name is his brand (trademark), and acquired value as a result of 30 years of his work in the field of comedy.

    Your attorney will likely have a difficult time defending you from bad faith registration. As it appears you have no legitimate interest in the domain(s) as compared to Jay Leno.

    The remark in the post that “there was no trademark on the name when he registered it” does not invalidate a claim of rights. The word mark was simply not yet Federally registered with the USPTO, but was well established and in use many years prior to your registration of the domain name(s).

  5. Steve M says

    Javier,

    Your statement that, “I am not using the domain in any way to tarnish Mr. Leno’s name or reputation.” would have been; counter-intuitively though it no doubt is to someone not (yet) familiar with the workings of UDRP & TM law; actually would have been your best use of this domain…since such non-commercial, “satire/complaint” type sites are generally permitted.

    The folks here telling you it won’t be yours for long are correct (and why fight for a domain that does nothing for you/your busines, anyway?).

  6. Javier Zambrano says

    I’ve done some research on this, I found a case where Mr. Ted Turner, yes, THE Ted Turner, tried to take the name TedTurner.com from someone who registerd it, and failed. So, I know I will prevail. And as far as why want a domain that does nothing for me, I think that will change very soon.

  7. UDRP Talk says

    Javier,

    Even if you can win on a technicality, what is your purpose for this sitename? Why waste any more time, energy, and money?

    If you lose, you will be ridiculed.

    It isn’t worth it, man…

  8. Dave Zan says

    I’ve done some research on this, I found a case where Mr. Ted Turner, yes, THE Ted Turner, tried to take the name TedTurner.com from someone who registerd it, and failed.

    Indeed. And look who’s got TedTurner.com right now.

    Of course, one big question is has Mr. Leno established trademark rights to his name? If he demonstrates that, then the rest will be arguably easy for him.

    Good luck on this dispute as you’ll seriously need it. And if/when you lose this, then obviously knowing you’ll win won’t matter.

    • Andrew Allemann says

      Javier – the TedTurner.com case was an old one. And he’s less of a celebrity and more of a business person. Yes, sometimes these cases go to the domain owner, but it’s rare.

      My guess is Turner got the domain name through a lawsuit. Sure, he may have bought it, but it’s unlikely. BTW, I just saw that Elizabeth Taylor won her domain name ElizabethTaylor.com.

  9. Mark -Ohio says

    “I’ve had this domain for 5 years, it’s not untill now, when Mr. Leno is getting his own show that he is trying to get it.”

    I predict if you asked 8 out of 10 people, they would say Jay Leno already had his own show. The official name may have been “The Tonight Show”, but most people simply referred to it as watching ” The Jay Leno Show”. Same Thing is true for Johnny Carson or David Letterman. Leno has had his own show longer than the 5 years the domain has been registered, and has a pretty good case.

    Proving a good faith use for this domain will be nearly impossible. Particularly since it’s listed for sale on sedo.com for $10k.

    Using the name to drive traffic to a real estate agent website not only may be seen as bad faith hijacking of potential traffic, but also seems counter-productive. Those who obviously want the real Jay Leno show information will be annoyed. Even if I did end up on that site due to direct navigation and needed a real estate agent, I wouldn’t trust an agent so obviously cybersquatting, or at least would think they were naive. Fighting this case seems like an invitation for a bad reputation.

    Any ongoing gained traffic will shorty disappear. When Godaddy gets official notice from WIPO, they will disable the domain and charge the registrant about $30 for doing so as a “service fee” (read the TOS).

    Advice: Try to settle before the case is heard, and you’ll minimize the bad PR and future reputation as a proven cybersquatter. That WIPO decision will be searchable on the internet for a long time if and when lost.

    I predict a win for Leno.

  10. JZ says

    Jay Leno is attempting to aquire three domain names thru World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), among them is “TheJayLenoShow.com”. The question is: is he entitled to it? Although the domain name incorporates his name, all proof indicates he has sold his name to his employer NBC, Inc. GE, parent company of NBC, Inc. owns, not only JaLeno.com, but also JayLenosGarage.com. GE aquired JayLeno.com last year, details of the aquisition were not released, but by looking at the content of the website, it leaves no doubt that Jay Leno has no ownership in that domain name. As we know, Jay Leno will be hosting this fall NBC’s new talk show, titled exactly like the domain name he is going after “The Jay Leno Show”. NBC, Inc., is spending millions of dollars, producing and promoting this new show, since NBC, Inc., or GE will own the trademark for this new show(they own the trademark for all the shows they produce, including “Late Night with David Letterman”, although, Mr. Letterman left NBC 17 years ago), therefore, since Jay Leno does not even own his own domain name, should he be awarded “TheJayLenoShow.com”?, should it not be NBC, Inc., or GE, the one filing for arbitration to aquire this domain name? Since the details of GE’s aquisition of JayLeno.com are not known, if Jay Leno is awarded the domain name in question, Jay Leno will have to hand over the domain name voluntarily to NBC, Inc., or to GE, if not, they would have to file for arbitration to get it from him, which is not likely, for PR reasons, but NBC and GE will be in a bad spot, if WIPO awards the domain name to Jay Leno, and if he hands it over to them voluntarily, it just shows that at the present time he should have no ownership of this domain name, and that it should be NBC, Inc., or GE the ones filing for arbitration for it, and not Jay Leno.

  11. Mark -Ohio says

    I don’t really see that it matters who currently owns what domains between Leno, NBC, GE, or anyone else. Not everything is black and white. GE owns NBC, NBC owns the Tonight show, but Jay Leno himself owns Big Dog Productions which is a co-producer of the Tonight Show and presumably the new Jay Leno Show, as well as Jay Leno’s Garage. I would bet Leno has a bigger ownership in the new show with his name than he did with the Tonight Show, which didn’t start out as “his” show. In any kind of partnership or co-ownership, usually any owner or partner can file a claim. In this case it is Jay Leno making the claim.

    In answer to JZ’s question “The question is: is he entitled to it?”, the answer should be YES, he is. Unless the current domain owner is a business partner or has the name Jay Leno and a show of their own, then they are clearly cybersquatting by taking advantage of the popularity of Jay Leno’s name. Could anyone else be entitled to it? Possibly NBC, GE, Big Dog Productions, or anyone else partnered on the show “could” have a valid claim over the current domain owner, but does that really matter in the WIPO case?

  12. JZ says

    Mark, you are missing the point, there is no co-ownership of the domains JayLeno.com or JayLenosGarage.com, just look at the websites, in JayLeno.com it is emphasized at the top and bottom of the page that Jay Leno has absolutley no ownership of the domain name, in the JayLenosGarage.com at the bottom of the page it shows that NBC, Inc. owns the Copywright. So, there is no doubt there is no co-ownership, if there is no co-ownership in his own domain name, what makes you belive there would be co-ownership in TheJayLenoShow.com. Let me illustrate it this way:

    Imagine that Bill Gates ‘had’ aquired the domain name Microsoft.com from Mark A, then Mark B registers MyMicrosoft.com, should Mark A be allowed to file a claim, because he once owned Microsoft.com? absolutley not, the only one who could file for arbitration is Bill Gates. That is the case here, no doubt Jay Leno transferred JayLeno.com, and any variation of it like JayLenosGarage.com to GE and NBC, Inc., and no doubt he has been compensated for it. My point is that by awarding Jay Leno the domain, NBC and GE would have to file for arbitration against Jay Leno, if he does not give it up voluntarily. Wipo would be setting a prescedent, where persons that at one time owned certain domains, but gave them up, would be filing baseless cases.

    The Point is, that a domain name should not be awarded to someone, knowing very well that someone else has more of a wright to it, as is the case here.

    And if you think NBC does not care, that Jay Leno would own TheJayLenoShow.com, you’re wrong, if they did not care, they would give him his own domain name back. But if they aquired it legally, why would they?

  13. JZ says

    NBC, Inc., can’t afford to let Jay Leno have this domain name, because they can’t file a claim against him for PR reasons, even though they could do it. The best thing NBC can do, is contact WIPO to negate Leno’s claim, and then, go after it themselves.

  14. Mark -Ohio says

    JZ, I think you missed the point. What was done in the past isn’t necessarily the same in the future. The Producer of “The Jay Leno Show” is not NBC, it is Big Dog Productions. Jay Leno is the CEO of Big Dog Productions. Big Dog was a co-producer of the Tonight Show. It’s likely that Leno is full producer (i.e. owner) of “The Jay Leno Show”. NBC has only contracted with Leno’s company for the production on it’s network and stages (to probably oversimplify long contract language which none of us have seen). See this article: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/160569-NBC_Confirms_Plans_for_Jay_Leno_in_Primetime.php where it states:
    “The show will be produced by Big Dog Productions in association with Universal Media Studios. Debbie Vickers will serve as executive producer. Leno was represented by his long-time attorney, Ken Ziffren.”

    You can see Leno is CEO (owner) of Big Dog Productions here, with apparently only one other employee:
    http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_sfcsf

    The Microsoft/Gates example just doesn’t fit here. If MS tried to keep Gates from getting BillGates.com or gatesfoundation.com, or another company with his own name, then the example could be similar. Leno isn’t going after a domain with the tonight show or NBC in the name. He’s going after one with the name of a show produced by his own company, in association with (contracted by) NBC. Technically he could probably go after jayleno.com, but probably doesn’t feel he needs that because it isn’t the name of his show. He’d also be biting the hand that feeds him filing a wipo on that one. GE/NBC is also not using that domain in in bad faith as are the ones in the wipo filing are. Leno isn’t filing this because he may have once owned and released jayleno.com. He’s filing because he is named Jay Leno and owns the show with his name in it.

    Leno has every right to go after and own the names in question. GE or NBC owning other names, or Leno allowing others to own names doesn’t prevent Leno from owning the new domains with his name and a show he technically produces and owns.

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