Minneapolis, MN, October 27, 2005 --(PR.com
)-- The National Arbitration Forum announced today that a ruling has been issued in favor of former Dallas Cowboy and all-time NFL rushing yards leader Emmitt Smith regarding the rights to emmittsmith.com.
Emmitt Smith III, represented by John A. Thomas, of Glast, Phillips & Murray, P.C., filed a complaint electronically with the National Arbitration Forum on September 8, 2005, asserting legal rights to the domain name emmittsmith.com. The address was registered by the Respondent, EMMITSMITH.com c/o Whois IDentity Shield, of Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 17, 2001. It redirected Internet users to a commercial website featuring links to third-party businesses unrelated to Emmitt Smith.
National Arbitration Forum arbitrator Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr. found in favor of Emmitt Smith. The arbitrator determined that Smith possesses common law rights in his name based on the fame and reputation associated with his NFL career, and that the Web address emmittsmith.com was “confusingly similar” to Smith’s name. Atkinson also found that the Respondent did not have legitimate rights to, or interest in, the disputed Web address and was using the address in bad faith presumably earning commissions for redirecting Internet traffic to third-party commercial sites.
During the course of the proceedings, the Respondent’s registration of the domain name emmittsmith.com was either deleted or expired, prompting Smith to redeem the domain name under the new Expired Domain Deletion Policy (EDDP) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This was the first decision issued by the National Arbitration Forum utilizing the EDDP.
Thousands of Internet domain disputes similar to that of Emmitt Smith are heard each year by the National Arbitration Forum. The domain name dispute process is a popular alternative to lengthy and expensive trademark lawsuits.
A copy of the decision, Emmitt J. Smith, III v. EMMITTSMITH.COM c/o Whois IDentity Shield, is available for viewing on the National Arbitration Forum website at: