Feeds

Facebook cybersquatter stitched up by own Facebook account

Non one believed his 'generic dictionary word' defence

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The man who registered the domain name facebook.info has lost a cybersquatting case, after Facebook used his own eight-year-old Facebook account as evidence against him.

Occasional web entrepreneur Igor Dolgalev registered the facebook.info address on 25 September, 2004, while he was still a student at Cornell and Facebook itself was barely six months old, according to a recent World Intellectual Property Organization decision.

Defending himself against Facebook's cybersquatting claim, filed under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, Dolgalev claimed that at that time he bought the domain, the word “facebook” was a “generic dictionary word” for university campus directories rather than a well-known brand.

It was not until 2005 that Justin Timberlake persuaded Mark Zuckerberg to drop the “the” from the social network's URL. Snapping up facebook.com cost Zuck and his backers a cool $200,000 back in 2005 – but in 2004 it was still found at thefacebook.com.

Dolgalev argued that had he wanted to cybersquat Facebook, he would have registered thefacebook.info, which he claimed was still available at that time.

But Facebook filed numerous press articles with WIPO that it said proved that the site was nevertheless already known widely as simply “Facebook” as early as April 2004.

Dolgalev must have known about the site's fame even then, Facebook argued, because he set up his own Facebook profile – which is currently publicly viewable – on 23 April 2004.

That fact, which Dolgalev had a hard time disputing in his defence case, was enough for WIPO arbitration panelist Robert Badgley to view the rest of his story with “suspicion”.

“The chief problem for Respondent [Dolgalev] is that the Panel does not believe his story,” Badgley wrote. “Respondent lost a tremendous amount of credibility by failing to rebut the simple and important allegation that he had joined Facebook on April 23, 2004, five months before registering the Domain Name.”

He concluded that Dolgalev had no rights to register facebook.info as a “generic dictionary word” and that the registration must have been made in bad faith. That was enough for Facebook to win its UDRP case, meaning facebook.info will shortly be transferred to its ownership. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.