Amazon Prevails in Cybersquatting Judgments

Cybersquatters, typo-squatters, and parties who have tacked keywords onto trademark-protected domain names were hit hard this week in two separate rulings by the National Arbitration Forum.

Amazon.com took action against two individuals who had registered domain names it claimed violated its registered trademark. Arbitration was carried out under ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

One of the individuals, Michele Dinoila of SZK.com, maintained 12 domains that the online retailer claimed bore a “confusing similarity” to Amazon.com. The dozen domains included keyword meshing URLs such as “amazonappliances.com,” typos like “wwwamazon.com,” and a foreign translation of “amazzone.com.” The sites in question contained links to Amazon’s competitors, including BarnesandNoble.com and Booksamillion.com.

Dinoila, based in Italy, is named in more than 20 other decisions and has been called a “recidivist cybersquatter” by Amazon.com.

The second arbitration was held against an unnamed individual operating under the company name Whois Privacy Inc for the registration of the “amazln.com” domain. The respondent did not appear to acknowledge the proceedings. At press time, the site remained active with links to commerce sites and sponsored links.

Rich Polidi, an attorney who practices trademark law with North Carolina’s Stark Law Group, said one challenge in selecting arbitration is the need to demonstrate a party’s bad faith in registering and using the domain name.

“One hurdle in a domain name arbitration, one that is not necessarily present in a court of law, is a need to demonstrate that the respondent has registered and used the domain name in bad faith,” he said.

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