Earlier this week Oakley filed a UDRP complaint seeking transfer of the domain name www.oakley.pro. The website at www.oakley.pro sells “Oakley” branded products, but its not clear if these are genuine products that are being re-sold by an “unauthorized” agent/company, or they are in fact counterfeits. The prices for the glasses listed on the site are in rubles, but correspond to the price for genuine Oakley goods in the U.S. – so there does not appear to be a deep discount for the glasses like you would find at other counterfeit sites. The site’s graphics also appear to have been ripped directly from the Oakley website, and look pretty decent compared to most counterfeit sites.

The fact that the site appears in the .PRO registry is perplexing – even if the site is a genuine Oakley site. The .PRO registry is supposed to be a registry for “professionals”, that is vetted by the registry provider. The .PRO registry was purchased by Afilias in 2012.

The .PRO website explains its unique mission, stating:

“.PRO’s fundamental purpose is simple: to offer a secure, trusted platform that professionals can leverage for their Internet presence, starting with a domain name.”

“The .PRO TLD is further distinguishable from other domain extensions because of its unique registration requirements. .PRO registration requires a two-step verification process:

Step 1: The identity information provided and self-certified by the registrant is used to activate your name.

Step 2: The self-certified professional data provided by the registrant is randomly verified against an appropriate licensing or accreditation database.”

The WHOIS information for the site lists the domain registrant as a company called Expoprint of Volgograd, Russia and the site itself says it is the official retailer of Oakley in Russia. We had given thought to the idea that the site could be owned by a licensed company or affiliate of Oakley, however that does not appear to the case, as according to the Oakley website the official distributor of Oakley brand products in Russia is a company called Yuma Corp. There is no mention on the Oakley website (with respect to its activities in Russia) of the company Expoprint.

In all events, it will be interesting to see how the concept of the .PRO registry is discussed by the panel in terms of how it is viewed by the public and the fact that an unauthorized or counterfeit site in a registry that is supposed to be vetted can in some ways be more harmful than a site in a registry that is simply open for anyone to join...