CNN prevailed in the largest single domain name dispute ever heard under the streamlined dispute policy established to prevent trademark abuses on the Internet.

The case, administered by the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), involved 325 domain names containing some variation of the well-known CNN trademark.

CNN was represented in the proceeding by John D. Haynes of Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta, where the news network also is based.

In a 40-page decision, a panel of three arbitrators ruled that the Lebanese business interests that registered the names did so in order to take advantage of confusion on the part of Internet users who would believe that sites with names such as, and were affiliated with CNN.

The domain registrant, Elie Khouri, and his business, Channel News Networks, used the names to direct people to their web-based news services that competed directly with CNN.

The dispute was among hundreds heard each year by the NAF under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The domain name dispute process is a popular alternative to lengthy and expensive trademark lawsuits.

Copies of the decision, “Cable News Network v. Khouri et al,” are available from the NAF or online at the forum’s Web site.

The NAF is the largest U.S.-based provider of domain name dispute resolution services and is one of the world’s largest neutral administrators of arbitration and mediation services, with a select panel of former judges and experienced senior attorneys providing dispute resolution worldwide.

Founded in 1986, the NAF is headquartered in Minneapolis-St. Paul, with arbitrators located across the globe. The forum publishes a free electronic newsletter covering many areas of domain-name dispute resolution.



Alston & Bird: