A Conservative blogger has lost his domain name to an American political news site.
A panel at the World Intellectual Property Organization decided, in a ruling published today, that tory-politico.com was “confusingly similar” to politico.com.
Tory-Politico was a right-leaning one-man blog run by Brit Jason Brown. Politico.com is a large Washington DC based newsletter owned by Capitol News Company.
The US outfit started sending cease and desist orders to Brown a couple of months ago, claiming his domain and look-and-feel could make readers think the sites were related.
This despite the facts that the word “Tory” has no meaning in American politics and that both “Tory” and “Politico” are generic dictionary terms.
Rather than suing, Politico.com filed a Uniform Dispute Resolution Process claim, which allows trademark holders to seize trademark-infringing names from cybersquatters.
Remarkably, WIPO agreed with the American blog that the two domains were “confusingly similar” and that Brown had registered tory-politico.com “in bad faith”.
The UDRP process was designed to stop cybersquatting, but it's often used by large companies to bully smaller outfits. This decision is arguably right at the edge of what UDRP allows.
Brown, perhaps sensing defeat, did not bother to fight the UDRP complaint and moved his blog to thebluenation.com several weeks ago.