Sep27

Google Loses “Typosquatting” Case Against Oogle.com

Google Didn't Get Oogle

Google lost a domain battle with ICANN and its arbitration body over a domain name spelled Oogle.com. As many are aware, a long-term strategy for any domain reseller is to purchase domain name misspellings, which may siphon traffic away from your core brand (or those of your clients!).

Google argued that Oogle.com is confusingly similar to Google.com and should be transferred over to the search giant.

This type of alleged infringement typically falls under a category called “typosquatting” which may also attempt to make the design of the page look similar to the real site.

Google argued that Oogle.com merely deletes one letter from its name and appears intended to capitalize on frequent user misspellings or typographical errors, according to the ruling issued by the arbitration forum.

The alleged infringer registered the domain way back in 1999 and was thirteen years old at the time.  His name is Christopher Neuman.

“He chose to register Oogle.com because he had become acquainted with another young software programmer named Justin Tunney, who used the online moniker “Oogle” or “Criminal Oogle,” according to the ruling,” said PC World.

“When Neuman noticed that Tunney had registered Oogle.net, but did not own Oogle.com, he proceeded to register the domain because he intended to collaborate on a website with Tunney.”

PC World said the Oogle.com domain was used as a shopping site between 2000 and 2002 and was used as a programming-related website in 2002 and 2003, according to Neuman.

However, the complaint filed with the National Arbitration Forum, which is one of the approved Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) bodies for resolving disagreements under its Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, was rejected because Google did not prove its case according to three key elements that govern disputes of this nature.

These three elements were:

  • Google had to prove that the domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark or service to which it has rights;
  • It had to prove that infringer has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name;
  • And it had to prove that the domain name had been registered and was being used in bad faith.

ICANN said that because not all three elements required under the ICANN policy were met, Google’s claim was denied and Neuman may keep the Oogle.com domain name.

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