Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, has been rumored to be considering a run for the Governor of California in 2010.
But first she is chasing domain names.
According to the Sacromento Bee, on Oct. 15, Whitman filed a petition with the World Intellectual Property Organization to claim rightful ownership of five domain names: megwhitmanforgovernor.com, megwhitman2010.com, meg2010.com whitmanforgovernor.com and whitman2010.com.
The domains were registered by Thomas Hall beginning on Jan. 28, only three days after the first news report that Whitman might run for governor.
Hall said he bought the domains “on a lark.”
“I completely forgot that I even owned them,” he said via e-mail.
That changed in June, Hall said, when Whitman’s attorney’s contacted him.
“They demanded I turn over ownership to them,” he said. “They have since offered to buy them, and to be honest, because of the way I have been treated, I don’t want to sell.”
Unlike trademarked getting a There’s no guarantee of victory.
In fact, winning can be a longshot for individuals without trademarked names, said Doug Isenberg, an Atlanta-based attorney who specializes in domain-name disputes.
He pointed to singer Bruce Springsteen, who lost a similar case before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2001 when he tried to claim BruceSpringsteen.com.
The cheapest option is often to simply pay off the cybersquatter or simply find another domain, said Isenberg, who sometimes serves as an arbiter in WIPO cases.
Mitch Zak, a Republican strategist working with Whitman, said she was solely focused on McCain’s race, but he added that her advisers are “definitely pursuing URLs to give Meg options should she choose to run for governor.”
Earlier this year, Whitman settled a longstanding fight for the domain megwhitman.com.
She had filed a WIPO action for that domain, but the case was settled outside of the arbitration process, presumably with some type of cash settlement. Details are not publicly available, and Zak declined to share any information on the settlement.
“She’s got Megwhitman.com which is probably the most valuable of the domain names,” said Isenberg.
It’s very interesting to note the comments of Mr. Isenberg who as the article said, sometimes serves as an arbiter in WIPO cases, who is quoted as saying “””The cheapest option is often to simply pay off the cybersquatter or simply find another domain.”””
Any thoughts about registering domain such as these?
I think domains such as meg2010.com or whitman2010.com would be impossible to win in a WIPO action standing by themselves but when registered in concert and by the same individual who registered megwhitman2010.com it makes the case easier.
Generally I think a person’s first name along with a year or an office in the domain would be very hard case to win.