It might seem strange that one of the world’s most recognizable supermodels over the past two decades does not own her name as a .COM domain, but Cindy Crawford falls into this category. It seems like the model finally had enough, however, and she filed a UDRP complaint at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against Julian Garcia, the owner of CindyCrawford.com.
It’s not clear what finally pushed Crawford to try to gain control of the domain, because she states in the complaint that she has never owned it, but since August, 2012, the site has hosted pornographic content related to an actress who also uses the Cindy Crawford moniker. It’s possible that this “pornosquatting” compelled the Complainant to take protection of her brand image more seriously.
Garcia did not file a response to the complaint, but it’s clear from the Panelist’s decision that even if he had submitted something, the odds would have been stacked against him. Crawford owns trademarks of her name in more than 50 countries and according to the WIPO, is famous enough that she might have not even needed these registrations to claim rights to the disputed domain name. The Panelist also found that the Respondent had little to show in terms of rights or legitimate interests in regards to CindyCrawford.com and ordered the transfer of the domain name.
According to the filing, third parties have controlled the domain name since 2004, and Crawford used Cindy.com as her professional site. It’s not clear what took Crawford so long to file this UDRP complaint, but by the time that she did, she had a rock solid case to earn it back. This case should be a lesson to all celebrities of how important it is to own the most intuitive domains related to your personal or stage name, because third parties could be using them to earn countless hits on unauthorized, and even harmful content.