What happens when you don’t own domain names that use your very own name? For one former U.S. Congressman, it means filing a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Last week, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul filed an international UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) complaint with the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against two domains bearing his name: RonPaul.com and RonPaul.org. Paul seeks to have the domain names turned over to him without compensation.
In order to win a UDRP a complainant must prove:
(i) The Domain Name is identical with or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Supporters of the ex-Congressman launched RonPaul.com in 2008. In a recent interview, Paul had expressed regret about not owning the site. Afterward, the sites’ owners offered the ex-Congressman the use of RonPaul.org free of charge. They also offered to sell him the RonPaul.com domain and the affiliated mailing list … at a price of $250,000.
In response to the WIPO complaint, a posting on RonPaul.com states: “Instead of responding to our offer, making a counter offer, or even accepting our FREE gift of RonPaul.org, Ron Paul went to the United Nations and is trying to use its legal process related to domain name disputes to actively deport us from our domain names without compensation.” You can view copies of Paul’s complaint and RonPaul.com’s offer at the same link mentioned above.
In past WIPO complaints, we found two well-known complainants who were awarded domains that had used their names. Last month, in a WIPO case registered as “Cynthia Ann Crawford v. Julian S. Garcia,” supermodel Cindy Crawford was awarded the domain name cindycrawford.com. And, back in 2009, WIPO ordered that the domain names jenniferlopez.net and jenniferlopez.org were to be transferred to the actress-singer’s charity, The Jennifer Lopez Foundation.
What do you think Ron Paul’s chances are of winning the UDRP?