Murdoch Outfoxed Over Domain Name Dispute

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By: E&P Staff

The World Intellectual Property Organization concluded that a Florida businessman is the rightful owner to foxbusinessnetwork.com.

WIPO said it was nevertheless “suspicious” that the name was registered the same day the Rupert Murdoch-owned network announced in February 2007 that it was launching a business news channel.

The WIPO called the timing of the domain name buy “hasty.” But it concluded that “The purchase might just as well be attributed to an effort to protect a name, ‘Fox Business Network’ that (Hodges) had been using before (Fox) announced its own intentions to use a similar name ‘Fox Business Channel.'”

The decision certifies that Worldwide Directory Services of Sebring, Florida, is the rightful owner of the disputed domain name. WIPO concluded that Derek Hodges, Worldwide’s president, used the term Fox Business Network for legitimate offerings of services, including a domain name registration business and free business web page offerings.

Fox claimed that Hodges had tried to sell the name to the news channel for $50,000 and registered the domain name not in the furtherance of a legitimate business activity but to stir confusion with the business channel.

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