WASHINGTON — Organizing for Action, President Obama’s nonprofit advocacy organization, has sought to be nimble as it ramps up a national effort to back his agenda on gun control measures and immigration reform.
But it appears the group didn’t move swiftly enough to protect its presence online.
An arbitrator has denied the organization’s effort to obtain the
domain name organizingforaction.net, registered by a quick-moving
computer technician in Castle Rock, Colo., on Jan. 18, when the news
broke that Obama’s former advisors were launching the group.
Derek Bovard proceeded to configure the site so all the hits were directed to the website for the National Rifle Assn. It was one of three domain names for Organizing for Action that the group failed to register before it launched.
“If they don’t like it, they can buy it from me,” Bovard told the Los Angeles Times at the time.
Instead, a lawyer with the firm Perkins Coie, representing Organizing
for Action, filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum,
which handles disputes over domain names.
The complaint argued that Organizing for Action had established
“common law trademark rights” through media coverage and than Bovard
registered the domain in “bad faith.”
Bovard contended that Organizing for Action did not have any presence
when he scooped up the name, and said he had no intention of selling
it. He said that the website would be used “to discuss conservative
political views and values.”
In a decision issued last week, Karl V. Fink, a retired judge in Ann
Arbor, Mich., concluded that Organizing for Action did not provide
evidence that the name was “a distinctive identifier” of the group or
that it owned any trademarks at the time.
(In fact, the group did not file a trademark registration for
“Organizing for Action” until Feb. 7, according to United States Patent
and Trademark Office records.) (Continues at WaPo)