On October 18, 2017, Safenames successfully recovered the domain name of a local fostering company which had been held for ransom by a notorious cybersquatter.
The Respondent, who was later exposed as WESLEY PERKINS of Birmingham UK in a recent article published by the Telegraph, found Mr Perkins to be behind numerous aliases and fake offshore companies that had been used to buy up the domains of many established businesses including ROLEX and ExxonMobil.
Littleacornsforstering.com was one such domain, which was inadvertanetly lost by its original owners who operated a fostering agency from the website. After rejecting Mr Perkins attempts to blackmail the fostering agency in to a sale and exhausting all other means, Safenames were instructed to file a UDRP complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Head of Legal
Micah Ogilvie is head of legal at Safenames Limited and manages the IP department. He has advised both global enterprise clients and smaller e-commerce and internet companies on brand protection, domain name dispute proceedings and cases of trademark infringement on the Internet. He has represented companies in more than 100 disputes through various international arbitration bodies, including the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the Czech Arbitration Court and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. Safenames is a leading global domain name registration company that specialises in corporate domain portfolio management and online brand protection services.
Safenames were able to succesfully establish the fostering company’s legal right to the domain, despite having no registered trademarks at the time of dispute and an abusive pattern of conduct on the part of Mr Perkins.
The Panel in the case further held:
“The Panel would also add that it is unfortunate that the business practices of Mr. Perkins appear to have carried on for the most part unchecked for many years, notwithstanding the multiple findings made against him in UDRP proceedings and the brazen nature of his conduct. Particularly, concerning is that Mr. Perkins seems intent on taking advantage of the fact that frequently it will make more commercial sense for a victim of his cybersquatting activities to pay him monies to retrieve the Domain Name than to incur the legal fees and the cost associated with proceedings under the Policy.”
It is important to note that the domain industry is primarily made up of respectable investors, however the panel’s decision does beg the question of whether more can be done by national laws to criminalise the activities of serial cybersquatters. Conservative MP and chairman of the digital, culture and sport select committee, Damian Collins, has called for an “urgent review” to combat this level of extortion and offer more protection for British businesses.
Although brand management presents many challenges for brand owners, Micah Ogilvie, who is head of legal services at Safenames, believes brands can do more to protect themselves from unscrupulous domain investors who prey on their intellectual property.
“Although advertising budgets are often regarded as a necessity to help build a brands reputation, maintaining that reputation through a brand protection strategy is often overlooked. Budgets for brand protection are often minimal or non-existent and many brand owners adopt a reactive approach.
Brands need to understand that when it comes to protecting their most important assets, cheap is not always better. The cheapest domain registrars are not always the most secure, what is of more importantance is being able to pick up the phone and discuss any issues with a designated account manager that understands your portfolio and can notify and advise you appropriately. When a brand owners consolidate there domains into a single portfolio, this makes it easier for them to manage”