WIPO Decides: RonPaul.com to Remain with Grassroots Supporters

The domain name RonPaul.com will remain with a group of dedicated grassroots supporters, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has decided.

Ron Paul had filed a cybersquatting complaint in early February 2013, calling on the UN agency to expropriate RonPaul.com from his supporters. This week, WIPO rejected Ron Paul’s complaint, ruling that his supporters were running a political fan-site and thus had legitimate rights to the domain name.

RonPaul.com was created in 2008 as a fan-site in support of Ron Paul and his ideas. Over the years, the supporters running the site invested more than $100,000 into the website and its operations. They helped raise millions of dollars for Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns and received several thank-you notes from Ron Paul’s associates and staff members. But in January 2013, shortly after retiring from Congress, Ron Paul expressed regret over not owning RonPaul.com. He went on to file a complaint with WIPO asking it to confiscate the domain name from his supporters without compensation.

In his complaint, Ron Paul mischaracterized his supporters’ efforts, alleging that the website was a sham created only to sell merchandise. That claim was easily disproved by the thank-you notes the supporters had received from Ron Paul’s associates. Ron Paul also claimed that the supporters had only bought RonPaul.com so they could one day sell it to him at an exorbitant price. The evidence showed the opposite: The supporters had sacrificed everything and put five years of hard work into the website out of admiration and support of Ron Paul.

It is not known why Ron Paul decided to use WIPO, a UN agency, in an attempt to confiscate the domain name instead of simply asking his supporters to donate it to him. In a March 19 interview with TIME, Ron Paul supporter Tim Martin stated that the supporters at RonPaul.com would have handed over the domain name for free if they felt Paul had shown that “he honors and appreciates our hard work and support.”

After the decision was announced, Martin said, “We’re glad to put this traumatic experience behind us. Our team of liberty lovers will continue to promote and advance Ron Paul’s message of liberty, prosperity and peace at RonPaul.com and all over the Internet.”

Megan Stiles, a spokesperson for Ron Paul, said, “While the ruling is disappointing, Dr. Paul is excited to launch his new personal website on another domain in the coming weeks.”

The supporters at RonPaul.com are represented by Booth Sweet LLP of Cambridge, MA.

Download the Decision (PDF)

[pdf http://www.ronpaul.com/images/RonPaul.com%20Decision.pdf]

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  • Mark Patriot

    How anyone can be allowed to commandeer someone else’s name to make a dot-com is beyond my ability to comprehend, I agree with Common Sense commentators telling you The Right Thing To Do – GIVE RON PAUL THE DIGNITY OF “OWNING” HIS OWN NAME. I do not mean to belittle nor disrespect everything everyone at (not) Ron Paul’s site has done to support Ron Paul and promulgate his vision – THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE!!!

    However, whatever efforts and investment you have made are MINISCULE, in comparison to those years of sacrifices, determination, and dogged adherence to our Constitution RON PAUL has maintained in the face of massive corruption and disgusting humiliation, from both tyrannical government criminals as well as Low Info Sheeple! Yes, a lot of work went into Ron Paul’s (namesake) website, but that’s quite little compared to the lifelong body of work and accomplishment by The Man Himself.

    Now Do The Right Thing and negotiate the proper transfer to THE MAN AT THE TOP.

  • John

    I am ashamed of what people working on Ron Paul’s behalf did by trying to take this domain away from you guys without any compenstation whatsoever, espcially after all the work you guys did over the years to promote Ron Paul. I don’t think it was Ron Paul’s idea however, he was just letting people that he trusted work on this because he doesn’t know much about the web. If you can personally talk to Ron Paul and explain everything I am sure you can reach an agreement. Ron Paul paid certain members of his campaign staff very well, even though one of them only seemed to hurt his efforts rather than help. Jesse Benton was inexperienced, rude to the grass roots, and had no bsiness running any campaign, much less Ron Paul’s campaign!

  • jam

    wipo is not a un agency it is a non profit that is in charge of handling all domain disputes so if you challenge a domain you have to go through them.

  • Diehl

    Why are you guys still supporting him? He went against everything he supposedly believes in when he went to U.N.. […], he’s no libertarian.

  • tom

    seriously what are you guys doing? giving the great doctor the rights to this domain would be the most supportful thing you can do? do you realize how confusing it is to say that you support him but are fighting him at the same time? give it up already

  • Oscar

    Any TRUE Ron Paul supporter would have just gave him the site. Deeply disappointing. But hey, “He was in the wrong” for wanting to claim his name and fame. I guess someone else is also looking for fame. That or trying to make money out of his name. Again, disappointing.

    »crosslinked«

  • only1halen

    The right thing to do is to give the domain name to Ron Paul.

  • Scott

    In total honesty, you guys are in the right but on a larger scale here you should be supporting him and happily hand over the domain.

    You sit here and claim you want to support him.

    You want this “revolution”, then why on earth are you not letting him control his voice on the most ideal place on the internet.

    i mean no disrespect but you are just creating another obstacle in a losing war, if you really cared about this you wouldn’t even of fought for the domain.

    This is about money and your not doing the respectful thing here.

    This is ridiculous…please hand over the domain name if you have any dignity at all.

  • Joshua Paul Hawkins

    Maybe you guys should quit looking for the man to give you a medal and just give him the site.

  • Jbottero

    Actually, Saul, he *DID* own RonPaul.ORG, but let it expire in 2012.

  • Carol

    As much as I love Ron Paul I do believe he was in the wrong, and I’m kinda disappointed in him. This whole thing makes me very sad. I expect that it must have floored the guys who put so much time and effort into building this site in order to promote Ron Paul’s campaign. I guess it just goes to show that nobody is infallible.

  • Saul H.

    How can you still support him after this??

  • AdamGmoney

    Good for you guys… you really were in the right the whole time.

  • MJU

    So are you going to give him back the domain now, maintaining the high ground?

    • Saul H.

      Back? He never owned it in the first place.

    • Jacob

      You want everyone to give up their private property and hard labor for free? I don’t know about you but I call that communism. Without some compensation, I see no reason for them to give up anything.