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Rackspace Wins Domain Dispute, Australian Forced to Hand Over Rackspace.xyz

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An Australian man has been ordered to hand over his Rackspace.xyz domain to Rackspace Hosting this week.

The domain was registered with GoDaddy by Russell Harrower in July, and used to launch an online directory of billiard halls in Australia.

Harrower launched rackspace.xyz on Dec. 11, 2014. “While we had been working on the system for quite some time a company tried to steal our domain name and forced us to launch earlier than we wanted,” he said in a post on his website, russellharrower.com.

Rackspace Hosting filed the complaint with the National Arbitration Forum in November, and claimed that the domain name was identical and confusingly similar to its name which has been trademarked since 2000.

In the complaint, Rackspace said that the rackspace.xyz domain name “is identical and confusingly similar” to its trademark.

It also said that Harrower did not have “any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name” since he failed to make active use of the domain name and offered the domain name for sale to Rackspace within a few hours of registering it.

Harrower offered to sell the domain to Rackspace for $5,000 US, and sue the company and ICANN if the domain was turned over to Rackspace. “He also threatens to use his influence in the social media should Complainant launch transfer proceedings in relation to the disputed domain name,” the complaint said.

The panel agreed with Rackspace that Harrower registered the domain in bad faith, and the domain was ordered to be transferred on Monday.

Domain squatting or cybersquatting costs trademark holders a lot of money. In 2012, a report by NetNames estimated that cybersquatting costs trademark holders more than $1 million per brand.

In a post on his website on Wednesday, Harrower said that Rackspace has “two options.”

“Either go away or buy the domain for the on the table price of $5k, it is going to be better than the $50k I could be seeking from them due to mental and health reasons,” he said.

.XYZ was delegated to the DNS Root Zone in February 2014 and is managed by CentralNic.

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About the Author

Nicole Henderson is the Editor in Chief of the WHIR, where she covers daily news and features online. She has a bachelor of journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto. You can find her on Twitter @NicoleHenderson.

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