Michael Urvan

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Michael Urvan (born 1973) was the first individual[1] to successfully defend against a domain name dispute brought against an individual by a famous celebrity.

Origination of the "Sting" moniker[edit]

The domain name 'sting.com' was registered to Michael Urvan on July 25, 1995, as an email domain, for the purpose of supporting his gaming,[2] and later for the gaming clan '{LAVA}' globally ranked on TheCLQ.com. Urvan used the moniker '=Sting='[3] for playing in online games and competitive matches. Urvan originally used the name Stingray as an alias while BBSing[4] in the mid 1980s, borrowed from a 1985 TV series of the same name. While chatting, people tended to abbreviate the name 'Stingray' and only type 'Sting'. It is because of this habit, that during the early 1990s he began using the moniker 'Sting' for pre-WWW Internet MUD games and BBS signons as illustrated in the ICANN Domain Name Dispute response text. Urvan continued to use this moniker throughout the 1990s but has since changed his gaming moniker, post dispute.

The UDRP Domain Name Dispute[edit]

Attorneys for Gordon Sumner, who uses the stage name "Sting", filed a complaint against Urvan on July 13, 2000, for the domain name 'sting.com' via the ICANN Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy and the case was sent before World Intellectual Property Organization for arbitration. On July 11, 2000, Dr. Andrew F. Christie was appointed to be the sole panelist by WIPO for the case. On July 19, 2000, after reviewing the complaint submitted by attorneys on the behalf of Sumner, and after reviewing the response provided by Urvan, the case was decided in favor of Urvan. The panel's decision was made based on several factors: that the primary word ('sting') to make up the domain name was a common dictionary word, and that Urvan was using the name in good faith.[5] "Urvan's lawyers argued that sting is a common English word, Sumner had not registered it as a trademark and Urvan was legitimately using it, not holding it to ransom. The WIPO panel agreed."[6]

The case drew international attention for being the first major defeat of a celebrity in a domain name dispute.

The domain name is now used to host Sumner and his band.


  1. ^ "Sting loses cybersquatting suit". Corporate IT Update. July 28, 2000. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Taking the Sting out of domain name disputes" (PDF). BILETA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-22. 
  3. ^ "WIPO Declares WWF the Winner, But Sting Stung". thefreelibrary. 
  4. ^ "Sting.com about us page from the year 2000". Sting.com the year 2000. 
  5. ^ "WIPO Administrative Panel Decision, Gordon Sumner p/k/a Sting v Michael Urvan". ICANN. July 20, 2000. 
  6. ^ "What's in a name?". Interface Publications. July 2000. Archived from the original on July 20, 2006. 

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