If you’ve ever visited Richard Dawkins‘ website, you may have wondered why the URL was richarddawkins.net.
The owner of RichardDawkins.com claimed that he was using the domain name merely as a fan site for Dawkins. There were affiliate links on the web site that linked to various products related to Dawkins, but the owner claimed that those links were there in exchange for free web hosting.
Another benefit for the owner was that links to Dawkins’ books went to Amazon and he would get a cut of the profits, basically benefitting off of Dawkins’ name.
The Panel unanimously finds that Richard Dawkins has established a common law trademark in his name. The three Panel members agree that Mr. Dawkins has perhaps done the most thorough job in establishing the existence of the common law trademark in a personal name that any of the three panelists have seen.
Put as simply as possible, when any one of the three panelists hears the name “Richard Dawkins”, each thinks automatically of the books and articles written by Mr. Dawkins supporting evolution, opposing creationism, and defending or asserting atheism.
What does this mean for Dawkins and for his fans? Probably not much. My guess is that the Dot Com URL will soon direct people right back to the Dot Net website.
Still, good for Dawkins for getting that URL back.