CYBERSQUATTING: DOMAIN NAMES OF FAMOUS AUTHORS AND OTHER CELEBRETIES

The administrative panel of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center has issued numerous decisions addressing cases in which famous authors or celebrities have sought to prevent other individuals or entities from using their names or derivatives, or their names within registered domain names, a practice generally known as cybersquatting. Usually, in cases where the panel has found that the name was registered in bad faith or where the panel determined that the registrant did not have a legitimate interest in the use of the domain name, it has ordered the registrant to transfer the domain name to the respective authors.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

Which legal doctrine affords the names of famous authors and celebrities with trademark protection?
What elements have to be present in order for one’s name to constitute a “common law trademark”?
Does the name of an author or another celebrity meet the criterion of “distinctiveness” necessary to constitute a trademark?

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