domainjunkies – a domainers blog

confessions of a domain name junkie

Recently The Register published a news story (and another) about a man (Paul Dell) who is being sued by the computer manufacturer (Dell Computers) for acts of “parasitism and of unfair competition”.

It seems Dell, Inc feels that the Spain based web designer’s domain name (dellwebsites.com) is deliberately infringing on their trademark because the company allegedly issued a press release in 2000 stating they were going into the Small Business Website Hosting market.

I’m definitely not a lawyer, but this seems like a BIG stretch for Dell, Inc’s intellectual property rights attorneys. Seems like an extreme case of reverse domain name hijacking.

Maybe Dell is worried about the direct navigation aspect of the DellWebsites.com domain name?

For example, maybe some of the Dell Corporation customerstype in dellwebsite.com into their browser looking to buy a Dell computer. Dell, Inc seems to have owned dellwebsite.com since 11/2001.

Unfortunately for Dell, Inc, Paul Dell has owned dellwebsites.com since 4/2001 (7 months prior) and looking at archive.org, it seems he has never tried to even remotely take advantage of the similarity in names.

From day one Paul Dell’s website seems to have been about website design services for his local clients and from his meta tags to his footer, it doesn’t seem like he has ever even made mention of Dell computers. I don’t see how a customer could get confused.

Maybe the fact that he didn’t mention his non association with Dell Computers in a disclaimer hurts his cause?

I can sort of see how Dell might try to stretch the direct navigation aspect of it, but in my non-lawyerly opinion, it seems like it would be a big stretch.

This seems like a misguided case of intellectual property rights laywers gone wild. I have a feeling that this matter is also caught up in the jungle of corporate bureaucracy. Michael Dell couldn’t have had this type of action in mind when he started his computer manufacturing company back in 1984.

Unfortunately for Paul Dell, he is forced to spend his hard earned money fighting this (seemingly frivolous) lawsuit.

Although the cases are different, maybe Paul Dell can take a page from Hank Mishkoff’s story and fight back. It would be great to see foundations like citizen.org or eff.org get involved.

Monday, February 27th, 2006, 4:01 pm | Domainer News, Legal Stuff |

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