The (Tea) Party’s Over…

Steve Levy ⬥ 31 May

Former US Congressman and candidate for President of the United States, Ron Paul, recently unsuccessfully attempted to recover several domain names containing his name: Two complaints (one per domain name) were filed with The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and both were denied.

The WIPO panelists found that in both cases the Respondent operated the domain name within the realm of fair use as a legitimate fan site offering individuals the opportunity to speak freely and openly on the website about their political beliefs. The panelists also found that the Respondent did not attempt to sell the domain name to any third party including the Complainant, but rather invested considerable funding in developing the site. In fact, the Complainant reached out to the Respondent about a potential selling price. It was particularly interesting to note that the panelists decided Congressman Paul’s claimed common law rights did not need to be taken into consideration in the rendering of their decision, although the panelists did note that these rights could “evolve over time” now that Congressman Paul has taken a position at “Greater Talent Network”, a speakers’ bureau. In addition, the panelists found that although the Respondent likely benefited from some commercial activity on the site, it was not “sufficient commercial activity to change the balance of interests already addressed” citing case precedence in the form of Mercury Radio Arts, Inc. and Glenn Beck v. Isaac Eiland-Hall, WIPO Case No. D2009-1182 was cited.

As we frequently note on this blog, it’s incredibly important to carefully-select which domain names to pursue UDRP action against, particularly when fair use is likely to come into play. However, it’s doubtful that this outcome will stem the efforts of the Tea Party or Congressman Paul to become relevant voices in the political discourse. Lucky us?

Tags: common law rights, domain names, Glenn Beck, Greater Talent Network, Isaac Eiland-Hall, Mercury Radio Arts Inc., Ron Paul, Tea Party, U.S. Congressman, UDRP, WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization

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