Company behind government-mandated free annual credit report site demands control of 227 typos.
Central Source, a company created by the three major U.S. consumer credit bureaus, has filed an in rem lawsuit against 227 typos of its AnnualCreditReport.com domain name.
This is the sixth cybersquatting lawsuit the company has filed this year to crack down on people typosquatting its domain name.
A test of the domain names shows that most use Moniker forwarding to land on a parked page at AAnnualReport.com. That domain has a disclaimer on it saying it’s not affiliated with the US-government mandated site that provides a free annual credit report:
This website provides a listing of credit report company advertisements, is not responsible for the advertisements placed herien and is not affiliated with annualcreditreport.com created by FTC mandate under the FACT Act.
The complaint alleges that the whois information for the domains changed to someone in China after the company sent a cease and desist.
Wiley Rein LLP is representing Central Source. You can view the lawsuit filing, including the list of 227 domain names, here (pdf).
That’s a generic domain name and they should have never received a trademark for it.
Shame on the USPTO.gov for another bad decision. There is nothing unique about ‘ Annual Credit Report’. Everyone uses it in a generic context in casual conversation, not referring to this site.
There is nothing wrong with those typos other than the fact that the USPTO made the wrong decision granting the trademark and therefore put them in hot water.
That’s a bogus trademark for sure.
Andrew Allemann says
Yeah, I don’t know if “annual credit report” was in the lexicon prior to this law and website. “Free credit report” certainly was.
“Free credit report” with .com appended is an even older registered mark (1999) 😀
In 2006, during the tm application process, ‘Annual Credit Report’ was deemed to be ‘merely descriptive’; they filed a response displaying actual use in goods and services by providing screenshots of their web site. The mark was approved once all requirements were met.