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National Arbitration Forum Settles Ownership of HuffPo Name

Thursday, September, 22, 2011


The National Arbitration Forum has decided a dispute between the Huffington Post, a news and culture website founded by media personality Ariana Huffington in 2005, and Pauta's International.  At issue was control and ownership of the name "HuffPo." This shorthand phrase has been an informal name for the Huffington Post website for several years, but Ariana Huffington had never formally owned the phrase.  Nor had America Online Inc., better known as AOL, which bought the Huffington Post website in 2001.  A company known as Pauta's International SA actually owned the rights to the "HuffPo" name.

 

It is reported this generated a problem for the Huffington Post because internet users who typed "HuffPo.com" into the address bar of their browser found themselves redirected away from the site they were trying to access.  Pauta's International used redirection technology to send such internet users to a variety of third-party websites, a situation which caused inconvenience and annoyance for Huffington Post readers as well as loss of advertising revenue for the website itself.

 

National Arbitration Forum Sides for AOL

 

AOL contended that it should be able to control the "HuffPo" name and redirect users who type the phrase into their browsers.  This would allow such users to access the Huffington Post website without delay.  The transfer of domain name ownership was ordered by retired Judge Harold Kalina, who served on the arbitration panel.