News & Events

News & Events

3.4.2013

Donuts Inc. Sees Sweet Profits in Web Domain Names — Concerns Over Top-Level Domains and Cybersquatting

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Lane Powell Shareholder Fran Jagla was quoted in the February 22 issue of Puget Sound Business Journal in the article “Donuts Inc. Sees Sweet Profits in Web Domain Names.” The article discussed Donuts Inc., a domain name registry that applied for 307 top-level domains (“TLDs”), such as .pizza, .bargains, .pets and .attorney. Donuts founders plan on selling the TLDs for a profit later this year. Jagla commented on the concerns that many have about TLDs and the potential for cybersquatting — the practice of buying or using a domain name with the intent of making a profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.

“The problem with that process,” said trademark and copyright attorney Fran Jagla, a partner at Lane Powell PC in Seattle, “is that it puts the onus on the companies to police all these new TLDs for potential trademark violations.”

“This is really going to be a free-for-all,” she said. …

… Jagla said there will almost certainly be money to be made by lawyers and companies that scour the web for cyber-squatters on these new TLDs and then try to get the business that owns the trademark to use their legal services to take the site down.

And, she expects there will be an enormous number of trademark violation cases filed after these TLDs hit the market. Some will be black and white, like if someone grabbed Microsoft.computers before Microsoft could. But others, she said get into a gray area.

Read the article (PDF).