Session Name: Understanding Intellectual Property and Domains
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Number of years in the domain industry: over 10 years, or perhaps 18 if you count my first informal chats with the man who ultimately became the founder and CEO of Namecheap, Rick Kirkendall.
Favourite extension: .xyz
Domain name you wished you owned: privatejets.com
Now reading: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Now watching: WestWorld
Best city for conferences: Las Vegas, NV
Your mentor: This is a tough one — lots of people have inspired me over the course of my professional career and a lot still do. I also hope that many others will.
Describe your company and how long you have been there.
I founded Rome & Associates in 2007 after leaving a prominent litigation boutique. We initially focused exclusively on intellectual property issues. Domain names, along with its myriad of emerging and evolving IP laws, such as the CDA, DMCA, etc., felt like a natural transition. Ever since we started working with our first domain client — a registrar of some renown among NamesCon guests — we immersed ourselves in the domain world, representing domainers, registrars, registries, service providers, domain escrow companies and brokers in litigation, ICANN-compliance and applications, transactions, bulk-sales and other domain-related legal matters.
What can attendees look forward to during your session?
NamesCon attendees, based on my experience, are quite sophisticated and understand not only the nuances of the domain world but also the legal principles which guide and govern it. I hope to devise a session that will convey information that is new, interesting, current, and informative even to those attendees who have a good handle on overlapping IP and domain issues. Attendees can look forward to learning something new and truly useful to their business.
What can attendees do in order to prepare for your session? Are there any questions or scenarios they should consider in advance?
The name of the session is "Understanding Intellectual Property and Domains." No preparation is needed but I would encourage attendees to think about any intellectual property issue they may have had in the previous year or issues they currently face or expect to be facing, and be prepared to ask questions. My intention is to answer every question asked, whether during the presentation or afterwards.
What would you like attendees to learn or take away from your session?
A much deeper understanding of the overlap between intellectual property and domains. My intention is to address some issues which may not be immediately perceived to be intellectual property matters but which, due to the scope and breadth of IP laws, may fall into certain protections granted under legislation geared towards intellectual property.
Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers?
We have a decade of experience in the industry and understand not just how the laws work but how the industry works. Our clients get the benefit of that experience when we guide them on transactions, strategic considerations in pursuing or defending litigation, and on expansion of business lines.
What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
I think some will thrive and many more will fail. Success of new TLDs is, at present, dependent entirely upon the vision of their proponents. Some of these proponents took extensions that many have doubted and made them flourish. Equally significant is the business model employed in connection with new TLDs, i.e. pricing, target market, etc. I, as all others in the field, am watching what is happening with great interest. We'll have to see what my answer will be on the 2021 NamesCon Q&A. :)
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming NamesCon?
Reconnecting with all my friends from the domain community.
What advice can you offer those who are just getting their start in the domain industry?
Find a mentor. There are far too many traps for the unwary and the industry is much more sophisticated than it was a decade ago. If you are serious and intend on making money in the space, you cannot do so without guidance and direction from someone who has experience. In my opinion, there is simply no substitute.
How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?
It's actually pretty consistent with what I envisioned. I suppose not many can say that. I'm fortunate.
If you had fifteen extra minutes each day, what would you do with them?
I would meditate.
Latest and greatest accomplishment in your career?
In January of 2016 I tried and won a payment processing case against the fourth largest bank in the Philippines. They fought us for 5 years over $1.5 million in diverted funds. After 3 hours of deliberations, the jury came back and unanimously awarded the full $1.5 million. Thereafter, after less than an hour of deliberation, they added $7.5 million in punitive damages. That was a good feeling.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice was a definition that someone gave me for "success." We often think of success as a finite thing: a million dollars, a yacht or a house. But that view is too narrow. The definition I received for success was: "The progressive realization of a worthy goal." It emphasizes the journey rather than the result and, by virtue of that, has made the process much more meaningful and validating.
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