Neiman Marcus, a century-old, high-end retail chain, has sued Name.com, Name.net and Spot Domains, accusing the ICANN-accredited registrars of cybersquatting and trademark infringement. It says the companies registered names such as neimanmarco.com, neimancmarcus.com and neimanmarcusl.com for themselves, displayed advertisements on the sites and offered them for sale. The Associated Press reported on the suit, filed in a Denver federal court March 15, earlier today.
The lawsuit is the latest by Neiman Marcus accusing registrars of cybersquatting. Earlier this week, Dotster, a seven-year-old registrar, agreed to a permanent injunction barring it from registering variations of Neiman Marcus trademarks, after being sued by the retailer last spring. Amid a boom in domain names, registrars have become some of the biggest speculators in Web addresses, competing with their own customers. Some have been snapping up scores of names corresponding with trademarks while engaging in a controversial domain-evaluation process known as “domain tasting.”
ICANN rules don’t bar registrars from speculating in Web addresses, but critics say the practice is a blatant conflict of interest. Some domain investors have created their own ICANN-accredited registrars, in part, they say, because they don’t trust registrars, some of which own hundreds of thousands of names, with their portfolios.