Organizing for Action lost its bid to claim the domain name organizingforaction.net on Monday when a judge decided it had no right to the domain it failed to register when it shifted from President Obama’s political campaign to a grass-roots organization.
The day Obama for America announced it would morph into Organizing for Action, Derek Bovard registered the domain name for himself, intending to use organizingforaction.net to discuss conservative political views and values, according to the complaint filed with the National Arbitration Forum, which handles domain name disputes.
Bovard, a computer technician from Castle Rock, Colo., originally configured organizingforaction.net to redirect to the National Rifle Association of America, according to the Los Angeles Times. The site now redirects to a video of neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.
OFA filed a complaint in February, saying it has a right to the domain name because it has established “common law trademark rights” through media coverage and publicity. Bovard acted in bad faith by securing the domain name just to prevent OFA from using it, they said, and has no “legitimate rights or interests” in the name.
Because OFA doesn’t own trademark registrations with any national trademark agency for the Organizing for Action mark, and because Bovard registered the name before it launched the advocacy campaign that earned its “common law trademark,” the arbiter said OFA has no right to the name.
Bovard noted in his response to the complaint that OFA has engaged in “reverse domain-name hijacking.” He did not elaborate in the complaint, but a representative of the Democratic Party in Georgia retaliated after reading the Los Angeles Times story about Bovard registering organizingforaction.net by registering DerekBovard.com, .net and .org and redirecting to Wikipedia pages for the Sandy Hook school shooting.
“I’m happy to see this person is exercising his First Amendment right provided to him by a country that was created by the armed ‘People,’ ” Bovard responded, according to the Atlantic Wire. H/T Washington Free Beacon