Feeds

Claimed ignorance foils Economist domain case

'I'd never heard of The Economist,' says economist

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Financial magazine The Economist has failed in its attempt to gain control of the internet address theeconomist.com.

The address was not transferred to it because the owner claimed that he had never heard of the magazine when he registered the name.

The site simply carries a picture of Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, and a note calling him "the economist of the century".

The Economist took a case under the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)'s dispute resolution service. Under WIPO rules a domain name can only be transferred if the name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade or service mark owned by the body trying to gain control of the address; if the person holding the address has no rights in it, and if the address was registered and used in bad faith.

Anyone hoping to gain control of a domain must prove all three of these elements in order to be handed the address. The Economist failed to show that the address owner Jason Rose registered the domain name in bad faith.

Rose claimed that he had never heard of The Economist in 1996. The Economist disputed this, claiming it would be almost impossible for someone interested in current affairs and economics not to know the magazine, but WIPO panelist Sir Ian Barker, a QC, said that he had to be believed.

Barker said that the claim was hard to believe, but that the WIPO system was not designed for ruling on such questions of fact.

"The panel cannot find bad faith registration proved on the balance of probabilities," he wrote in his judgment. "Despite the panel’s misgivings about the credibility of his claim, this proceeding under the policy is not the proper forum for testing its validity more than 11 years after the domain name was registered."

"The only way that Mr Rose’s assertions can be tested is in litigation where a judge would have proper opportunity of assessing the quality of this evidence. A proceeding under the policy is not the proper forum for determining such a belated issue of fact," he said.

It was found that Rose had no legitimate rights or interests in the term The Economist, and that he was using the address in bad faith. Panelist Barker even said he was "highly sceptical and almost incredulous" about some of Rose's claims. "His statements generally appear somewhat self-serving," he said.

But because it could not be proved that Rose had knowledge of The Economist in 1996 and that it was therefore a registration in bad faith, the domain name remained with Rose.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.