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March 14, 2012

Richard Branson won dispute regarding xxx domain name

National Arbitration Forum (FORUM) has handed down its first decisions in disputes concerning domain names registered under the new toplevel .xxx (adult entertainment). The first decision concerned the domain name <heb.xxx> which contained the trademark of a US based grocery company. The domain name was transferred to the complainant. In the second decision, celebrity Richard Branson (Virgin Enterprises Ltd) filed a complaint against <richardbranson.xxx> which has been registered by a third party and was being used in connection with pay-per-clicks, including some promoting adult content. Mr. Branson won the dispute as the FORUM agreed that his name is widely recognized and the name contained in the domain name, that the registrant had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and had registered and was using it in bad faith. The registrant tried to argue that Mr. Branson could have registered the .xxx domain name himself and that he had no intention of using it in connection with porn. Ironically, this last explanation made the FORUM decide that if this was the fact, the registrant did not have any rights to register under the .xxx toplevel at all. Read the full decision here.

It is still possible to block your trademark under the .xxx toplevel and not let it resolve to an active website. Zacco advises trademark owners to consider registering their trademarks, company names and/or variations of their marks, as .xxx domain names in order to protect them against abuse as .xxx domain names. 

For questions on domain names you may consult: Isaac Keren, (Sweden), Lone Prehn (Denmark), Anne Wilding (Norway), Remy Meeuwse (Holland), or Nils Köster (Germany)

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