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By | Kelly Fiveash 29th November 2007 18:48

Dell sits on cybersquatters

ICANN? No you can't

Dell has slapped a lawsuit on a number of website registrar firms, accusing them of trademark infringement and cybersquatting.

Dell quietly filed the case with the US District Court for Southern Florida last month.

The computer giant alleges a number of firms which buy and sell website addresses had unlawfully registered and profited from 1,100 domain names said to be "confusingly similar" to Dell's own trademarks.

Dell confirmed that the three registrars accused in the case were BelgiumDomains, CapitolDomains and DomainDoorman. It also said that several related entities and individuals had been hit with the lawsuit.

Examples of web addresses set up by the accused included dellinspirion.com, delloutletcom.com, and dellsuportcenter.com.

The Washington Post said that the suit named Miami resident Juan Pablo "JP" Vazquez, who is allegedly connected to the three registrars.

Dell won a temporary restraining order from the court to prevent further infringement and cybersquatting. Under a separate order granted to the computer manufacturer, US Feds seized evidence on 9 November.

Dell charges that the registrars gobbled up a huge number of web addresses and profited from so-called "domain tasting". This exploits the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) policy in which prospective buyers effectively have a five-day free trial to sample the domain.

According to Dell, the accused had set up a complex network that spun the alleged infringing domain names from one registrar to the next.

"The only thing better than registering a domain for five days, deleting it and getting a refund is to never having to purchase it at all," Dell attorney David Steele told the Washington Post.

A Dell spokeswoman told The Register that it hopes the lawsuit would send a clear signal about the lengths it's prepared to go to protect its brand.

Dell also wants ICANN to revisit the grace-period policy, she said: "We believe the original intent had a legitimate purpose but today is clearly being abused."

More from the Washington Post here. ®

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