In June of 2007, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled on a motion to dismiss various claims against the Youtube video-sharing service. The claimant was Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment Corp ("Universal"), a manufacturer of pipes and tubing products. Since 1996, Universal has used the domain name utube.com - phonetically the same as Youtube's domain name, youtube.com. Youtube.com was registered in 2005 and gained almost-immediate popularity as a video-sharing website. As a result, Universal experienced excessive web traffic by Internet users looking for youtube.com and mistakenly typing utube.com into their web browsers. Universal's servers were initially unable to handle this traffic causing interruptions to its online business. The Youtube litigation, although factually idiosyncratic, does raise questions as to how effectively current laws and policies deal with situations where two different companies assert similar interests in one or more domain names. There have been many examples since the inception of the domain name system where several parties with legitimate claims to similar trademarks have battled for corresponding domain names, such as delta.com. This article examines the possibility of developing domain name sharing strategies in such cases. In particular, it presents a new proposal to expand the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy to facilitate domain name sharing arrangements.
Jacqueline D. Lipton,
A Winning Solution for Youtube and Utube? Corresponding Trademarks and Domain Name Sharing,
Harvard Journal of Law and Technology
Available at: https://scholarship.law.pitt.edu/fac_articles/466
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