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David Weslow Comments on Potential Cybersquatting Risks Related to Top-Level Domain Bids

Bloomberg News
November 6, 2012

David Weslow, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Intellectual Property Practice, was interviewed by Bloomberg News for a report on allegations that Donuts Inc.’s $56 million bid for 307 top-level domains (TLDs) could fuel cybersquatting schemes. According to the November 5 article, an attorney representing TLD holders is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to investigate Donuts’ alleged links to other companies that have been involved in a large number of cybersquatting cases involving the unlawful use of domain names.

“The allegations have been made fairly publicly by a wide range of organizations,” Mr. Weslow told Bloomberg. “If the allegations are true, the concern would be the prior actions of those other companies would be indicative of how the Donuts group may operate.” While Mr. Weslow represents businesses bidding for top-level domains (TLDs), he said none are in direct contention with Donuts.

Web operators that use Donuts’ domain names will be taken down if they engage in cybersquatting or phishing scams, Jonathon Nevett, one of Donuts’ four founders, told Bloomberg. Nevett said it’s unfair to criticize Donuts when the company has done nothing wrong, and Donuts has argued that the allegations concerning its purported connections to cybersquatters are unfounded.

ICANN, which authorizes domain-name suffixes, is reviewing 1,930 applications for 1,400 new TLDs such as .book, .app and .law, according to the report. Brad White, an ICANN spokesman, told Bloomberg the organization can’t comment on individual TLD applications but has a rigorous screening process.