Save Unicom.Com

October 2020 Update

Nineteen years later, I have transferred UNICOM.COM to a new owner and I am delighted.

I am no longer in the consulting biz. I stopped doing business as Unicom some years back.

This domain helped me maintain a distinct brand identity while I was consulting. But finally, it came time to pass it on, and I was able to do so on my own terms.

Thanks to Cherie, the lawyer that worked on my successful defense all those years ago. Also, fond appreciation to my other layer Jim Tyre, who died earlier this year.

This is the story of my successful fight to protect my Internet domain.

My name is Chip Rosenthal. In February of 1990--over a decade ago--I registered my domain UNICOM.COM. That's before the World Wide Web even existed in the United States. All this time, I've been using the domain to publish software and information.

In December 2001, a company called Unicom Systems, Inc. of Mission Hills, CA. tried to steal my domain away from me. They did not follow the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy--maybe because they knew I was the rightful owner.

Instead, they filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in California. They made ludicrous charges, like I was cybersquatting on a domain I registered over a decade ago. They even falsified accusations, such as I tried to extort $50,000 from Corry S. Hong, their President and CEO.

It didn't matter that the lawsuit was frivolous, because this was a case of reverse domain name hijacking. They knew if I didn't show up in court to defend myself, I'd default on the lawsuit and lose my domain.

Well, I didn't default. Instead, I fought--and I won. The court threw these jokers out on their butts.

This web site documents my fight.


This website presents news and information on my fight to save my domain.

Domain Dispute?

I'm grateful to the hundreds of people who showed their support while these events transpired. In return, I'd like to pass along some of what I learned, to help people who may be in a similar situation.

Typically, the process begins with a cease and desist letter. This is a very scary letter that accuses you of all sorts of terrible things (trademark infringement, unfair competition, cybersquatting, leaving the seat up) and demands you hand over the domain.

If you are the rightful owner of the domain, there is a good chance you can defend yourself successfully. The bad news is it isn't easy, and it could be quite expensive.

Increasingly, companies have been using abusive C&D letters to threaten individuals. In February 2002, a coalition of law schools and civil liberties organizations formed the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse to document and remedy the problem.

So, the first thing you should do is visit their section on domain disputes. You will find information on the domain dispute process. Also, they have form for you to report your C&D letter. I strongly urge you to do so.

Based on my experience, here are some thoughts on approaching a domain dispute:

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