The Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh hired an intellectual property attorney team to wrest control of domain names containing his name and other professional basketball players’ names away from a serial cybersquatter.
Then, in a decidedly unselfish move, Bosh donated the domains containing fellow professional basketball players’ names to the National Basketball Players Association for safekeeping and with instructions to give control of the domains to the rightful owners (those players whose names had been cybersquatted).
Bosh’s legal team was able to acquire approximately 600 domain names that had previously been unlawfully cybersquatted by a dishonest entrepreneur who was using the domains to generate revenue.
For more resources on cybersquatting look here:
• Domain Dispute Cybersquatting Lawsuits
This story was first reported at SportsAgentBlog in the article “Bosh Gives A Bunch Of Domain Names To The NBPA”. In that article Brian Heidelberger who represented Bosh in this matter took the time to answer questions pertaining to the NBPA’s assumption of management of the rescued domains, that interview has been reproduced below;
Darren Heitner: Tell us a little bit about the day-to-day activities involved in spending 11 months administering Bosh’s offer to return the approximately 600 domains that were transferred.
Brian Heidelberger: We were contacted by a wide number of athletes, teams, agents and business representatives (we were even contacted by some high school players’ moms and dads), all of which were extremely appreciative of Chris’ offer. In administering the return of the domains, it was very important to both protect our client in this undertaking, as well as treat the domain portfolio and all those who contacted us, with the great respect the matter deserved.
Heitner: Has such a widespread cybersquatting case like this ever been litigated in the past? Is it likely that there will be similar types of cases like this with athletes in the future?
Heidelberger: While there have certainly been a number of cases of athletes and celebrities successfully retrieving their domain names via the federal law or UDRP proceedings, we believe that this was the first case to ever award the transfer of a large portfolio of domains directly to a plaintiff in lieu of damages. I find it somewhat unlikely that there will be another case of this nature in the future, as it takes a unique individual such as Chris to want to take on the responsibility and expense of a case like this without asking anything in return.
Heitner: What other areas of internet/cyberspace law do you think will come into play with athletes in the future?
Heidelberger: Social media is at the forefront of the new media issues faced by athletes, teams and leagues today. We’ve seen major successes and failures in this regard, but a large part of a successful social media strategy is understanding the law behind what you are planning from a legal and practical perspective. We’ve been lucky enough to be able to advise a wide variety of athletes, teams as well as major advertisers, on the important legal issues surrounding social media.
Heitner: How did you form your original relationship with Chris Bosh?
Heidelberger: As you likely know, Chris Bosh’s agent is Henry Thomas of CAA Sports. We have been lucky enough that Henry has sought our legal counsel when needed over the years with respect to a variety of players that he represents. Our practice is unique in that we not only represent athletes, entertainers and their agents for their endorsement/IP, social media, litigation, foundation, corporate and tax matters, but we also represent major corporations like Motorola, PepsiCo and Pizza Hut for their advertising, marketing and entertainment needs. With experience on both sides of the sports and advertising world, we provide a unique perspective for clients looking for practical, quick and cost effective answers.
Heitner: Now that Chris is in Miami playing for the Heat, does he need a friend to go to dinner with him?
Heidelberger: Chris asked if you were available tonight, but I understand that you are busy with the Jewish holidays. Are you free Yom Kippur?