Friday, September 9, 2011

Court Rules Ed Forchion Can't Change His Name to ""

Technology & Marketing Law Blog: Marijuana Activist Can't Change His Name to "" -- In re Forchion

The court turns to the key issue of whether Forchion can change his name to a domain name. This turns on whether Forchion is guaranteed to be able to use the domain name indefinitely. The court notes that although domain name registrants "appear to possess all [of] the component rights" of property owners, on closer examination, "it becomes apparent that a domain name is not property." The court concludes that a domain name is merely the product of an agreement for services between the registrant and the registrar. The agreement--pursuant to which a registrant secures a domain name--is not guaranteed to continue indefinitely. The registrar places numerous limitations on the registrant's use of a domain name and if the registrant breaches the domain name registration agreement in any number of ways (e.g., fails to pay fees, allows the domain name registration to lapse, uses the domain name in violation of the law), the registrar can cease providing the registration services. The court sees this as problematic because if Forchion's name change is approved, his name would "permanently" become "," but if he loses the domain name a subsequent user could end up with the rights to In the court's eyes, the "dual use might create confusion, depending in part on what the new registrant did with"
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