NEW YORK — Citibank, the consumer division of financial services multinational Citigroup, recently scored a victory in a cybersquatting case that involved the domain name Citibank.porn.
It was the second time in the past six months that a Fortune 500 company has been forced into the arbitration process after it chose not to engage in defensive domain registration.
In the recent Citibank.porn case and the Verizon.porn claim, which was decided in October, the companies were able to recover their trademarked names after arbitrators sided with their famous brands, ruling that the domains were registered in bad faith.
In each of the cases, the purchaser of the domains and respondent named in the complaints was Adam Rothman of New York.
Rothman, who did not respond to the complaints, never operated the domains on the web. The sites were parked.
But in both cases the arbitration panels said that the respective brands were tarnished by falsely implying that they were somehow connected to the adult entertainment industry. Each of the domains were ordered transferred to the companies.
Stephen Winyard, director and vice president of ICM Registry, which offers .xxx, .porn, .sex and .adult, told XBIZ that "brands can choose prevention or cure, just like Verizon [or Citibank].”
“It really is their own call depending on their preferences, and we don't have any specific recommendations,” Winyard said.
Cybersquatting proceedings under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), an arbitration-based process that trademark owners can use to recover domain names, can be costly. Filing fees cost $1,500 on top of attorneys fees, and a victory is never a certainty.