NBA Battles Cybersquatting in China Through International Arbitration
regardless of the NBA China Used to be complicated of late, the League continues to enforce its intellectual property rights as strictly as any other country.
This sentiment was evident in the NBA’s recent victory over the domain name “nbaplus.com” at the World Intellectual Property Organization
On June 10, WIPO moderators karen fong Ordered that the domain name be transferred from a person living in China to the league on the grounds that it was tantamount to the NBA’s trademark for “NBA” and that it was being used in bad faith
This controversy gives rise to the problem of cybersquatting, where a domain name is registered because it resembles trademarked phrases.
In January 2019, Wang Hai Tao (defendant) registered nbaplus.com with Alibaba Cloud Computing, a China-based company
The domain name was not directed to an active website, and as of this writing, it still does not point anywhere.
Fast forward to April 2022. NBA Properties—the league’s arm for merchandising, licensing and other intellectual property activities—filed a complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Arbitration Center
Alibaba, like other domain registration companies, is bound by the rules of WIPO, a United Nations agency that administers international IP treaties
One of the major functions of WIPO is to mediate disputes over domain names and to provide an out-of-court vehicle for genuine parties to combat cybersquatting and other deceptive domain name practices
Alibaba shared the defendant’s contact information, which WIPO used to broadcast the NBA complaint. According to Fong, who is a lawyer at Keystone Law in London, the defendant did not respond.
Fong agreed with the NBA’s legal reasoning for taking control of nbaplus.com.