Thursday , August 11 2022

Phi Kappa Sigma frat fight leads to domain name dispute

The fraternity voted to end ties with a philanthropic organization, which then registered a new domain to continue operations.

Logo for Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity has a coat of arms and the fraternities name

A fight between the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and a fundraising group that provides scholarships to its members resulted in a cybersquatting dispute.

Last year, the fraternity voted to suspend all support for Phi Kappa Sigma Foundation Fund. This included nixing all email support, website, domain registration, advertising, and access to staff resources.

The organizations had been tightly intertwined since the fraternity authorized the foundation in 1953. In fact, the foundation purchased and still owns the building located in Carmel, Indiana that the fraternity leases for use as its headquarters.

After the fight between the two organizations, the Respondent registered a new domain, pksedfund.com, to continue its fundraising efforts.

The fraternity took issue with that and filed a cybersquatting dispute with World Intellectual Property Organization. The foundation sued the fraternity after the UDRP was filed, but panelist Scott Blackmer decided the case anyway.

Blackmer ruled that the fraternity failed to show that the Respondent lacked rights or legitimate interests in the domain name:

For present purposes, it suffices to observe that the Respondent is using a Domain Name that does indeed correspond to a recognizable version of a name by which it is known and under which it has legitimately been operating as a nonprofit, both recently and in the past.

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