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Cindy Crawford Successful In Domain Name Claim

January 30, 2012

American model Cynthia Ann "Cindy" Crawford has been awarded after filing a claim under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP).

It appears the respondent party had registered the name some years ago and up until relatively recently had been forwarding the name to Ms. Crawford's official site. However; late last year, the name began forwarding to an adult site.

A complaint was filed by Ms. Crawford's lawyer with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center on December 13, 2012. WIPO is the United Nations agency dedicated to the use of intellectual property.

John Swinson was appointed as the sole panelist in regard to the matter on January 18, 2013 and ordered that the name be transferred to Ms. Crawford on January 21, 2013.

Mr. Swinson found the the previous registrant, who did not respond to the complaint, registered the domain name in bad faith, with a false name, had no rights or legitimate interests over the name and that the name was identical or confusingly similar to the "Cindy Crawford" trademark.

Mr. Swinson noted in his decision report that many of the domain names held by the respondent "appear to reference famous people or brands (for example, Eva Maria Gonzales, former Miss Spain and model)".

While the story has a happy ending for Ms. Crawford; for others, the time, stress and expense of filing a complaint under the UDRP may make it impossible to pursue. Via WIPO, the costs associated with any domain name administrative proceeding start at $USD 1,500. If a complainant's legal counsel is also involved, substantial additional costs can be expected.

While cybersquatting on domain names is less common due to stringent eligibility criteria; it isn't unheard of. With prevention being better than cure, it's wise for Australian businesses to register a COM.AU domain name sooner rather than later; along with the equivalent in .COM if that is available.

Even individuals should perhaps consider registering their own name as an ID.AU domain name to beat someone else with the same name to the punch.

The full text of the WIPO decision can be viewed here.

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