Anyone who reads this blog knows we are squarely again blatant trademark infringing domains, the companies and platforms that sell them, and those who buy them.
However, we are also strongly opposed to large companies trying to take advantage of their wealth, power and ability to pay large legal fees to basically steal domains they have no right to.
He is a case of one such company, Jimmy Choo, the maker of fine footwear made even more famous by Sex in The City.
So here’s the story.
Jimmy Choo lawyers sent a letter, you know the type, threatening a women who owns a small internet gift shop Kookychoo.com, telling her she must agree, by Tuesday, to give up its name or face a lawsuit.
Actually, the owner of Kookychoo.com, registered for her own trademark, when they were first contacted by Jimmy Choo, telling her new company to drop plans to trademark its name or get sued.
She and business partner were prepared to do that, but then another letter this week asked that the company cease using the domain Kookychoo.com
Moreover, not only did they lawyers for Jimmy Choo demand this women stop using the domain, they “want us to send all our business cards and any printed material that we have to them as well.”
Here’s the kicker, the site Kookychoo.com does not sell shoes.
Nor is it a parking site serving up ads containing the trademarked term.
Instead the site features gifts such as a teddy bears, a Venetian glass bracelets and a hot pink bean bags.
“There is absolutely no comparison, there’s nothing remotely even similar in our branding, in the products that we sell.” to Jimmy Choo’s products.
In the latest letter, Jimmy Choo’s counsel, asks Kookychoo to “agree that you will never use the Kookychoo trademark or any other trademark that is similar to Jimmy Choo or Choo in relation to any goods or services that are identical or similar to the goods covered by our client’s registered trademarks”.
Mrs James said lawyers had told her that she might have a case, but it would cost upwards of $50,000 to fight it.
“I’m a mother of seven and I live out on a little farm, there’s no way I have those kind of funds.”
Yesterday she was preparing to accede to the company’s demands.
No doubt, just as bad as a bang on trademark infringement, are bang on thefts of people’s domain name.
It looks like this company wants any domain ending in “choo” and with the funds to support this legal theft they can pick off people who cannot afford to defend themselves.
When Congress moves on CADNA efforts for stronger trademark laws, next year, I urge the ICA and all domainers to move for a fine or penalty to be imposed, if a judge or WIPO panel determines that the case amounts to reserve hijacking.
Right now domain holders are subject to civil fines and damages if a case is filed in federal court.
Why shouldn’t a company engaged in reverse domain hijacking be liable for the same amount of fines for in its attempt to steal a domain?
Right now we have a situation where a company can play this game risk free.
All they have to do now is pay an attorney a few bucks to write a letter, and if the domain holder can’t afford to fight the case which is going to be 99% of the time, they get something they have no right to for free. There is no financial downside, because there is no fine or penalty in place for “trademark” holders who go after domains they have no right to. If there was a $100,000 per domain, fine or damages, for bringing such an action, these companies would have to think twice before stealing other people’s property.
In the meantime keep this case in mind next time your shopping for “choo”s