'Serial Offender' of Franchise Trademarks Hits Again
Jason Rager strikes again at Franchise Times, just as he has targeted at least 90 franchise systems by registering domain names almost identical to companies’ legitimate names and posting their protected content, then selling his own software and other services to visitors who land on the site unwittingly.
Rager is called a “serial offender of franchise company trademarks” in 11 domain name disputes decided against him in the last 12 months alone, as this blogger detailed in a column in the November/December issue of Franchise Times. (Click here to read the article.)
Batteries Plus, Two Men and a Truck, Buffalo Wild Wings and Hardee’s are among those that spent thousands of dollars each to get their rightful domain names back from Rager and his company, Paydues Inc. of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Franchise Times spent about $6,000 last fall to hire a lawyer and get back its domain name, which Rager registered with a dot-net extension rather than dot-com. This time, he registered franchise-times with a hyphen.
Attorneys say it’s tough to stop cyber-squatters, because registering domain names is cheap, and there are no penalties when complainants use the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy to stop the infringer, which most do. “It works because there are over 200 million domain registrations today, and a domain name can be had for easily $10 or so,” says Doug Isenberg of the Giga Law Firm in Atlanta.
His advice: “Do something,” to stop infringers. “Make yourself known as a trademark owner who enforces the brand online.” Franchisors should check names related to theirs online—and if they come across Rager and Paydues, please post a comment here and let our readers know.