On January 28, 1999, I received a letter from the law offices of Darby & Darby indicating that their client, Toys R Us, Inc. feels entitled to the secondary level domain name, toysrgus.com. Apparently, they feel that their registration of Toys R Us as a US trademark for toys (in addition to various other "R Us" trademarks for other specific trades) grants implicit ownership of any secondary level .com domain beginning as TOYSR__.COM or ending as __US.COM, regardless of business trade or whether the domain is used for commerce.
If you would like to see a copy of their letter, go here. Lisa Pollard, the attorney at Darby & Darby representing Toys R Us, can be reached at email@example.com.
The evening that I received the letter from Darby & Darby, I placed the following information on the site as I wanted to explore my legal options and the basis for TRU's claim before taking any action. The instant outpouring of support on the newsgroups, via email, through phone calls, and on web sites was tremendous! In addition to many wonderful messages voicing the opinion that Toys R Us was bullying yet another site, some folks were kind enough to reference a ton of valuable legal material that convinces me Toys R Us' legal position is weaker than I had imagined. I truly appreciate the numerous offers to help with a legal defense fund.
Articles appeared on slashdot.org and news.com which prompted even more attention to this situation. News.com posted a followup story on February 1. The Wall Street Journal ran a story on this domain name dispute on February 10. Echo Station began a petition to protest Toys R Us (at last count it had over 500 signatures). SirSteve placed an article calling attention to Toys R Us' action. Yavin4.com started a banner petition to protest Toys R Us, and I was first aware of this through placement on Yak Face's Realm.
The bottom line is that the letter from Darby & Darby is written under the mistaken impression that I run a commercial site. Toys R Us and Darby^2 have not (to date) followed the InterNIC's policies on domain name disputes. Furthermore, Toys R Us does not own the trademark 'toysrgus'. Particularly outrageous is the suggestion that I be held responsible for removing links to toysrgus.com from the hundreds of other sites referencing the Star Wars Collector's Archive across the World Wide Web. If the folks at Toys R Us are concerned that there are people out there mistaken enough to confuse the Star Wars Collector's Archive for Toys R Us, I'd be happy to put a link off my home page to direct them to their site.
January 31, 1999