Trying to trademark domain names you don’t even own? That’s enough to land on the top 10 stories for 2016.
In 2014, I wrote about a hapless trademark applicant who spent about $50,000 in fees trying to trademark everything from Apple.com to YouTube.com.
This year I uncovered similar antics undertaken by someone who is also a domain name investor. Michael Gleissner’s companies have filed a number of questionable trademarks and subsequently filed UDRPs to get corresponding domain names.
His firms didn’t just target small firms, either. It lost a UDRP to Qualcomm and withdrew a filing against Google.
It is also filing trademark objections with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some of these are against small companies’ applications and others are against larger ones.
But the biggest WTF moment in this saga during 2016 was when I came across the LinkedIn profile of one of Gleissner’s employees. That employee wrote that one of his duties was:
co-existence, consent agreements, etc. to ensure creative resolution of IP disputes, including manipulation of TMs and common law marks to achieve UDRP “reverse domain name hijacking”.
Well, at least he was being honest.