July 14, 2011
CrossFit Mission Gorge (CA) at Yosemite National Park.
An update for the CrossFit Affliate Community, courtesy of the CFHQ Legal Team. Please read more . . .
CrossFit, Inc. v. Tal Moore
You decide to become a CrossFit affiliate. What's one of the first things you do? Pick
your name. It's not easy: you feel like you're naming a child! But then CFHQ approves it
and you go to register your new domain name. You're totally pumped. Except . . .whoops.
Wait a minute. Your domain name is already taken? How the heck can that be?
Unfortunately, a lot of CrossFit affiliates are finding out that they can't get the domain
name they want because someone has already bought the domain name with the sole
intent of profiting from a new affiliate. Usually, that person intends to either (a) hold it
hostage, or, more commonly, (b) sell it to a newly minted CrossFit affiliate owner at
some kind of premium. It's called "cybersquatting" and is prohibited by federal law (a
portion of the Lanham Act, known as the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
(aka the ACCPA).
And we're sick of it. It's time to send a message to the cybersquatters that they need to go find an easier target than CrossFit and our affiliates.
On June 30, 2011, CrossFit, Inc., filed a lawsuit in federal court, in the Western District
of Washington (in Seattle) against Tal Moore. Mr. Moore has been served and has 21
days in which to respond. The complaint alleges that Mr. Moore is the proud owner of
over 350 domain names with "CrossFit" in them. The suit also contains language from
email traffic between Mr. Moore and newly licensed CrossFit affiliates who were
charged anywhere from $50 to $400 for the domain name containing their licensed name.
Under the ACCPA, among the many remedies available to an aggrieved plaintiff,
damages can range from a minimum of $1000 up to $100,000 per domain name. That
could make this lawsuit, if successful, cost Moore between roughly $350,000 to over $35
million in damages.
CFHQ faces this problem daily and we are committed to protecting and preserving our
name, your name, and our affiliates.
Stay tuned for updates, and feel free to contact us if you have questions.Posted by Lisbeth at July 14, 2011 12:05 AM
This happened to us almost three years ago when we affiliated. HQ stepped right in and helped us successfully aquire our URL.
Nice work Dale and the rest of legal!
HQ shark tank hard at work....love it! Thank you. This happened to us when we started the process of establishing our affiliate several years ago. We ended up going with another name.
They did this for us as well. Thanks much to Affiliate Support (Esther ) and HQ!
This has less to do with protecting affiliates and more to do with CrossFit protecting its brand...the Guy didn't pay his Affiliate fee, so HQ isnt getting any money off it.
"Red"- How so? We have a similar situation with one of our members and their biz. When they went to go purchase the .com for their business, they found out that someone bought up all the domains with an "i" in front of it (probably hoping to cash in on all the apple offshoot companies). It was going to cost them thousands of dollars in order to purchase the .com domain. Instead they purchased a .us domain for a few bucks. If the same scenario happens for a new CF affiliate, how is HQ NOT protecting their Affiliates?
So psyched to read this. Hoping we can ultimately claim our site, still using an abbreviated URL.
Thanks CFHQ. We submitted our info to legal 2 years back and figured that this issue would eventually come to light in the greater community. Our cybersquatter owns a few derivations of CF Malibu and when I contacted him in 2009 he created a very bogus story about getting ready to "launch his franchise" but was deployed minute. He claimed to have spent THOUSANDs of dollars on web developers for his site and wanted "only" 2k dollars or so for me to buy his name. He used a bunch of other lingo that made it obvious he knew little about CrossFit. I offered to buy the name for the $12 he paid for it. I am on blogspot, have never spent a dime on web related issues, and will only consider changing over to www.crossfitmalibu.com if it doesn't cost me more than a few bucks. Anyway.... Thx legal for taking care of this. And thx CFHQ for giving us the chance to be unique and run ourbusinesses the way we like- to fit our personalities and preferences!
Oh "Red" -- you so nailed us. Dagger to the heart. Everyone who knows me will tell you I'm only about the Benjamins and the bitches.
Or maybe you're just plain old-fashioned wrong. But thanks for playing! It wouldn't be Internet fun without anonymous opponents!
Hope this ends in a settlement or summary judgment. Thanks Aff Team and Dale.
Thank you! Thank you !! Thank you CFHQ!!!
Thanks HQ! You all definitely have your hands full with the squatter issue and all the traditional gyms out there offering "Crossfit" illegally. Thanks for your support!
I don't suppose that he has the inverse of some existing affiliates? It would be like X-mas in July to discover someone had been squatting on www.dieselcrossfit.com
I like you guys :) Tell the legal intern Matt E. that alumni arena misses him but to keep up the good work! Thanks HQ!
so funny i read this because we are currently trying to get Mr. Moore to give us a domain our new name since we moved towns.
he wanted to sell it to us for $100 on June 28th and it wasn't until after the paypal transaction that he told us he no longer "owned" the web address.
go daddy informed me yesterday he still did.
he now wont return my emails.
what a crook!
It would be really awesome if you guys could force him to change his first name as part of the settlement...his current name is playing with my emotions.
That also happened to us..but I knew the law contacted HQ and refused to buy up any other domain...2 weeks late the domain was given up...Thanks HQ
This actually happened to me and unfortunately the people (yes people) where others in our very own community purchasing sites to traffic to there affiliate website. I have yet to hear from the person to sell the sites to me but HQ legal was a huge help in this matter and got the websites taken down.
I have a question what if u want to open a small tshirt company and use a domain name with crossfit in it is this illegal??
I was wondering the same(ish) thing...for example, would it be a problem if I were to use the term "crossfit" in a domain for a blog/site focusing on crossfitters, etc.? I know this is slightly off topic, but just curious (thanks, Krystle!). :)
Hi Krystle and Stevie,
I work for the CrossFit, Inc. Legal Team. Please allow me the opportunity to ward off any misinformation.
It is illegal to use the CrossFit® trademark without proper permission from CrossFit HQ. CrossFit HQ awards permission for our CrossFit® trademark to be used through License Agreements used with affiliates and Sponsorship Agreements used with The Games. Clauses within the License Agreement allow affiliates to register domain names that include the trademark and print the trademark on t-shirts.
One exception to the law against using the trademark is that it may be used for "fan boy" purposes. That means that when the trademark is used only for the purpose of discussion, like in a blog, and not in any way associated with commerce, it is not illegal.
Thanks for the questions.
Thank you so much for the clarification, Katie. Very much appreciated.
This probably isn't the best place to be discussing this type of thing, but could I ask just one small follow up question? Would advertisements (i.e. Google Adsense) on the blog prevent it from meeting the "not in any way associated with commerce" requirement?
Thanks again- I sure do appreciate your taking the time to respond.