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Mayo Clinic wins web domain dispute with pornographer

Mayo Clinic filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum on Dec. 17 concerning a web domain name that included the word “Mayo”and linked to explicit content. On Jan. 17, the organization ordered that control of the domain be transferred from its creator to Mayo Clinic.

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ROCHESTER — Mayo Clinic recently won a dispute with a Peru-based pornography website over its use of the word “Mayo.”

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum on Dec. 17 concerning a web domain name that included the word “Mayo” and linked to explicit content. The domain name in question was registered in October 2020.

Mayo Clinic’s representatives argued that the use of the name was an example of domain squatting, which means using “a well-known trademark to divert customers” to a website for commercial purposes.

The owner of the domain, Maholi Vera, did not respond to the complaint.

Forum panelist David E. Sorkin ruled that “the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights; that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.”

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On Jan. 17, the organization ordered that control of the domain be transferred from its creator to Mayo Clinic.

"We expect the domain will be transferred to Mayo Clinic in the coming weeks and we will hold it to prevent future use," stated Mayo Clinic Spokeswoman Heather Carlson Kehren on Jan. 21.

As of the morning of Jan. 21, the domain in question was still linked to questionable content.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Jeff at 507-285-7798 or jkiger@postbulletin.com.
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