Friday, October 2, 2009

Canadian Prime Minister Needs A Good Domain Name Lawyer?

Canada's Globe and Mail reported today that "Edmonton-based blogger Dave Cournoyer pointed out on his blog Thursday night that the website stephenharper.com is actually a link to a portal for adult personals, replete with images of women clad in black lingerie and stiletto heels."  *****[The Story seems to have been removed by the  Glober now...weird...Maybe because it was inaccurate or for some other reason??]*****

Upon checking it on Friday morning however, I saw that it is currently just pointed to a standard PPC page. The story also points out that StephenHarper.org is a lampoon web site about the Canadian Prime Minister.

As a domain name dispute lawyer, I would say that the .org domain name is probably beyond the reach of Stephen Harper, assuming he would even be interested in going after it, since it is likely a non-commercial and fair use, e.g. for the purposes of review, critiscism, and commentary, as understood by the UDRP and by trademark law. The .com however, could theoretically be caught by the ICANN UDRP, if the PM brought a case to WIPO or the NAF, for example, if he was able to provide "trademark rights" in his name, and showed that the registrant had "no legitimate interest" in the domain name, and registered it and used it in "bad faith".

In this Jay Leno case reported by the Calgary Herald, one can see a summary of the WIPO's analysis of the UDRP provisions regarding personal names and common law trademark rights. The actual ICANN UDRP WIPO domain name dispute case can be read here.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Or he could simply buy it from me for a grand, but bloody lawyers never advice this to clients because they could not chagre their gajillions on fees.

Zak Muscovitch said...

Interesting...This comment sounds like it may have been by the domain registrant. He is right though in a sense; it would be adviseable in most circumstances for a lawyer to advise his or her client to pay a mere $1000 in order to get a domain name, rather than proceed with expensive proceedings. For the record, I have never charges a gajillion in fees to anybody. I normally cap fees at a badjillion.

Zak Muscovitch said...

And another point...I question whether a sitting politician, even a prime minister, could have common law trademarks in his personal name, when it has rarely if ever, been used commercially, as a trademark; even a common law trademark, must have been used commercialy to be considered a trademark....But then there is the issue of whether "personality rights" exist in Canada, and how they would apply if they do...

Dan Cera said...

While the PM may have done little politically to satisfy the needs of Canadians I personally believe he has done just enought to establish common law rights in his name and opine that he would be successful in an attempt to recover the .com version of his in a UDRP proceeding or in any another dispute resolution forum