Virginia Tech Protecting Its Name
Virginia Tech is banning registrants of Internet domain names from using the university’s trademark names in their Internet addresses.
The 1999 Anti-Cyber Squatting Act gives trademark owners the right to dominion of their trademarks on the Internet, and federal law requires trademark owners to enforce and protect the use of their marks.
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker says the school acted to protect the integrity of Virginia Tech’s name. He says the trademarks imply a representation of, by or about the institution.
“This was a difficult decision for us,” Hincker says. “Several of these registrants are simply fans. Many are commercial enterprises. Some are inactive and may be held by cyber-squatters.”
Many corporations or individuals have had their names taken over by cyber companies or “cyber squatters,” who then try to resell the addresses, known as URLs, back to the highest bidder.
Hincker says examples of URLs unfairly using the university’s name
include virginiatech.org, hokie.org, virginiatech.com and hokieshop.com. There are about 125 URLs that use variations of Hokie or Virginia Tech.
Harvard University recently went to court to change the name of a Web site called notHarvard.com. The Web site’s name has been changed. (see Black Issues, Oct. 12).
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