New York Pro Bono Files Cyberpiracy Lawsuit to Recover www.lawhelpny.org Domain Name

New York Pro Bono Files Cyberpiracy Lawsuit to Recover www.lawhelpny.org Domain Name

Pro Bono Net, Inc. is accusing a Vietnamese domain name registrant of cyberpiracy in conjunction with the registration of www.lawhelpny.org.

"Internet users are likely to be misled into believing that the website is affiliated with Pro Bono Net's LAWHELP services," the complaint argues.

The alleged registrant, Pham Dinh Nhut, is accused of registering and using www.lawhelpny.org to derive revenue from the associated website, which contains revenue-generating links to information about legal services and legal providers.

Pham Dinh Nhut is described as a repeat cybersquatter with a pattern of registering and using domain names containing trademarks. Pro Bono Net points to three Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) actions in which Nhut was found to have registered and used domain names in bad faith.

Pro Bono Net also points to several questionable registrations made by Nhut; specifically, xenical-la.com, which is presumably based on Hoffman-La Roche's Xenical trademark, and thrvent.com, which is presumably a misspelling of Thrivent Financial's trademark.

"[T]he legal services advertised in connection with the lawhelpny.org domain name also include for-profit legal services," the complaint alleges. "As a result, those familiar with Pro Bono Net's LAWHELP services, which provide information about free legal resources, are likely to be disappointed by being directed to for-profit legal services ...."

Last May, Pro Bono Net filed an unsuccessful UDRP complaint against Nhut. While the domain was found to be confusingly similar to Pro Bono's LAWHELP trademark, the UDRP panelist determined that Nhut had an interest in using the domain name because "lawhelp" was a descriptive term.

In its complaint, Pro Bono argues that LAWHELP has become distinctive of its services and notes that the UDRP findings are not binding in court. 

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