Historical Whois Data – Look Who Sells It!

A popular service with trademark lawyers is the so-called whois history reports being sold at DomainTools.com. these records have been used by many trademark attorneys and even arbitration panelists to decide domain disputes. A recent news release says the data is also being used by escrow services for verification purposes.

According to the Tucows registrar domainTools.com did not got permission to collect the data and they “scraped” the data (most whois ouputs restrict the use of the data for resale). In 2010 Domain Tools took on a group of investors and formed a board. According to http://domainnamewire.com/2010/06/08/domaintools-takes-investment-forms-advisory-board/ the board is: Xavier Buck, Slavik Viner, Richard Lau, Paul Keating, Ray Bero, Kevin Vo, and Ammar Kubba. Tim Chen is the CEO and John Berryhill is the attorney who filed the Domain Tools trademark.

After a complaint was sent to John Berryhill about the whois data, DomainTools filed a federal lawsuit in Washington State against a defendant in New Jersey to try to get a declaratory judgement. Domain Tools was represented by former staff counsel to Seattle’s Porn King (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.12/sex_pr.html) Derek Newman who is quoted as saying the Seattle Porn King was his friend.

Attorney Paul Keating posted on a blog shortly after the case was filed:  “So, file an action seeking damages, serve it, claim damages not to exceed $10,000 and wait for a default. Then try to enforce the default. The reason for the damage limit is to force them into a situation of spending more than $10,000 to defend in AZ or default.  In cases like these it is easy …” that led to complaints to the Courts.  The DomainTools lawsuit, officially filed by Derek Newman, was eventually dismissed without hiring an attorney.

Here is a story about Slavik Viner and and Paul Keating http://randazza.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/if-you-are-going-to-lie-in-a-udrp-case-at-least-be-smart-about-it-hydentra-lp-v-xedoc-holding-sa/.  the UDRP decision is at http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2008/d2008-0454.html.  Keating made redacting claiming “Some documents may have been partially redacted so as to preclude the inadvertent disclosure of highly confidential information such as bank account numbers, user names, passwords and the like.”  He did the redactions electronically, screwed it up, ad the truth came out as the decision states:  “it was possible for the Complainant to see what was behind those redactions. In particular, some text was not fully obscured and when the pdf text was copied by it to a Microsoft Word file, the redactions disappeared in their entirety. Once these redactions are removed, the Complainant contends that it is apparent that Mr. Slavik Viner was the individual who conducted the negotiations with Sedo in relation to the purchase of the domain name.”

Quotes from the story: “The Complaint further alleged that given Viner’s standing in the adult entertainment community, he must have known about the Complainant’s trademark and website … when he registered the domain in question.” “The attorney’s (Paul Keating) conduct in this case was both unethical and incompetent and should be the subject of a bar complaint.”

In another case over TAGET.com Paul Keating represented “Quinv.” According to the decision Quinv stated thay are “not a ‘professional’ domainer and presumed that placing the domain name with SEDO and other monetizing providers would result in a directory page contextually related to the actual use of the word.” But, according to Google’s cache Quinv owns about 12,489 other domains and the current CEO of Quinv, Thibault Korchia, is the past sales director at EuroDNS. Xavier Buck is the owner of EuroDNS and is on the Board of Investors of Domain Tools along with Paul Keating. Quinv, according to whois records, is also the registered owner of craigslkst.com, wikipedi.com, and fgoogl.com. Quinv also operates DomainNews.com and Xavier Buck is en editor.

Another editor of DomainNews.com is Jothan Frakes of Oversee.net. according to this story Oversee.net is being sued by jewlers Tacori for registering domains such as Taccori.com, Tacorri.com, Tacoriiv.com, TacoriRings.com, Tacoti.com, Tracori.com. The suit claims Oversee.net “is a serial cybersquatter who registers, uses, and traffics in domain names that are confusingly similar to famous or distinctive trademarks owned by others.”

A story on Xavier Buck of EuroDNS and a dispute with ICANN over facebok.com

Slavik Viner lost another domain in a dispute, TravelZo.com after TravelZoo.com complained.

The CEO, Tim Chen was formerly a Vice President of “iReit.” http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2007/04/23/story4.html?page=all

Quote from the story: “iReit was sued by Verizon. The lawsuit listed more than 90 domain names owned by iREIT that are allegedly related to the Verizon Wireless trademarks including: veri8zonwireless.com veriizonwirless.com verizonandwireless.com verizonbillpayment.com verizonwirelessonlinestore.com verizonwireloss.com”

Story about Xavier Buck and Slavik Viner operating companies that control over 100,000 domains.

These postings claim that DomainTools.com offered a “whois suppression service” for $10/day/domain. (The service does not appear on their web site currently.) These reports also indicate IP addresses used by Domain Tools come back to Compass Communications (an ISP) or Name Intelligence (a company bought by a company related to Domain Tools). Claims are also made that Domain Tools masqueraded as Yahoo and Google to avoid blocking. Most whois databases set IP address limits as a way to block bulk downloads.

Incredibly, a member of Domain Tools, Susan Prosser, is on the ICANN “Whois Survey Working Grop.” She is also a member of the Survey Tool and Survey recipient selection group along with the head of the Intellectual Property Constituency and claims to represent the “Registrar Stakeholder Group.” Not only does Domain Tools control all the historical whois data and have list of what attorneys ordered which reports, they also have an inside track of what the Intellectual Property attorneys know and don’t know as it relates to whois data.

DomainTools.com, run by Tim Chen (the guy involved with iREIT who registered veri8zonwireless.com veriizonwirless.com verizonandwireless.com verizonbillpayment.com verizonwirelessonlinestore.com verizonwireloss.com) now complained about doaintools.com, doimaintools.com, domailtools.com, domaintoolls.com, domaintoos.com, domainttols.com, domaiontools.com, domaitools.com, domanitools.com, and domsintools.com.  The arbitrator deciding the case is David A. Einhorn who is also a practicing attorney and handles domain cases.  His unusual wording in the decision “Previous panels have found that a complainant holds common law rights in a
given mark if it provides sufficient evidence of sales figures and expenditures” ignores the well known fact that other entities use the term “Domain Tools.”  I wonder where Mr. Einhorn’s law firm gets historical whois data for its domain cases?  To top it off the domain attorney for DomainTools.com, Mike Rodenbaugh, managed domain name issues for Yahoo!, the same place that monetized veri8zonwireless.com veriizonwirless.com verizonandwireless.com, …