Open source software and UDRP – Domain Name Wire

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An open source software maker has just won a UDRP against a domain registrant, in contrast to a previous case involving open source software.

Two recent UDRP cases show what it takes for open source software vendors to win cybersquatting cases.

Get ODK Inc., maker of the open source data capture software ODK, has won (pdf) a cybersquatting challenge against a person who registered ODKcentral.com.

The case sheds light on the licensing terms and registration of domains containing open source software trademarks.

A good case for comparison is WeMakeFedora.org. IBM Red Hat filed a UDRP against this domain and was found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking. Compare that to the instant deal in which Get ODK Inc. won.

The cases differ in two key ways.

First, Red Hat initially consented to registering the registrant’s domain a few days after obtaining the domain. This compares to the ODK case, where the company’s licensing terms expressly prohibit registering domains corresponding to its brand without following strict guidelines.

Second, the registrants of WeMakeFedora.org used the domain for a Fedora software news site. It contained a prominent disclaimer and was not used for commercial purposes. Compare that to OKDcentral.com, where the registrant used the domain specifically to generate business to support ODK software.

There are other differences, including the Fedora domain containing “we make”, suggesting that the site belonged to the contributors of the project.

When Get ODK contacted the domain name holder to ask them to transfer the domain, they replied: “but [the] the business that can be generated with our domain name makes it a valuable domain. So selling it for less than $100,000 is not an option at this point. He also said he was going to list the domain on domain marketplaces.

John Berryhill represented the plaintiff in this matter. Although he primarily helps defendants, this is the 32nd case he has filed on behalf of plaintiffs, winning all but one. He has represented respondents in 285 settled cases and approximately 100 others that were settled or withdrawn without a decision.

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