Friday, December 12, 2008

Whitman loses the plot

eBay's former chief Meg Whitman has lost a WIPO claim for and four other domain names that she claims exploit her fame.

There has been widespread speculation that Meg is planning to run for election as Governor of California in 2010 (hence the 2010 part of the domain name), other domains in dispute are: and All of which are currently not working!

The WIPO panel agreed that Meg was internationally famous but that this alone was not enough to prove that the domain's were identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark in which she owns rights. Meg had opted for a single member panel (cheapskate, the 3 member panels have better transfer rates if my memory serves me right!) and that single member said: "Merely having a 'famous' name is not sufficient to establish common law trademark or service mark rights in the name," yeah well um that's pretty obvious but it does get more interesting: "To be entitled to protection under the Policy, however, a personal name must function as a trademark, and for common law trademark rights to exist, the Complainant’s personal name must have come to be recognized by the public as a symbol which identifies particular goods or services with a single source,".

For Meg to be successful her name: "must be used such that a relevant segment of the public comes to recognize her name as a symbol that distinguishes her services from those of similarly situated service providers.".

To put it bluntly she just hasn't: "provided services under the name 'Meg Whitman' as a source-indicator to a segment of the relevant buying public based on her performance as President and CEO of eBay."

You got that? so basically it's no good just being famous, you also have to use that fame if you wan't to rely on it. But then we all knew that didn't we? and we're thinking why is this guy writing about this as it is very basic........

You've got a point.

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