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World Wrestling Federation wins domain-name skirmish

First test of ICANN policy looks promising

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The World Wrestling Federation emerged from court the undisputed champion in the first cybersquatting case pursued under a new policy developed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The court appears to have performed as intended, reaching a decision swiftly and relatively cheaply. The Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) delivered its verdict according to ICANN's master recipe to Californian Michael Bosman, ordering him to relinquish the domain name www.worldwrestlingfederation.com, which he had registered for less than US $100 last October. Three days later, he "offered to sell it back at significant profit," for $1,000, the WIPO ruling states. The panel ruled that the name "is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark" of the World Wrestling Federation. The case was resolved in less than 40 days' time for under $3,000, according to a report in the New York Times. That compares favourably to minimum costs of about $10,000 to $15,000 for pursuing even the simplest cases in civil court, which can take years to resolve, the Times noted. The wrestling organisation filed its complaint on 2 December, one day after the new rules came into effect. There is no appeals procedure under the WIPO system, but Bosman can of course challenge the decision in civil court if he so desires. ®

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