–Dan Kelly, Attorney
Among the most ingrained Christmas traditions I recall from my youth was watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special every year. For many, many years, that Special was “brought to you by Dolly Madison.” (And it was always preceded by this intro–a classic!)
Dolly Madison is but one of many brands owned by Hostess Brands, Inc., f/k/a Interstate Bakeries. Hostess Brands has a number of well-known brands related to breads and cakes, including Hostess, Wonder, Holsum, and Beefsteak, among many others. I would place HOSTESS and WONDER in the category of famous trademarks, and several of the company’s other brands are probably regionally famous.
So I was really surprised to learn that Hostess Brands does not own hostess.com. In fact, just last month, Hostess Brands lost a UDRP arbitration to obtain that domain name from Domain Capital. (Opinion here.) Steve Levy has an excellent analysis over at The FairWinds Blog. I don’t know if it is a deliberate association, but FairWinds also has a sidebar poll asking who among a company’s legal, marketing, and IT departments should take the lead in managing domain name resources? (Poll results here.) I think there is no universally correct answer, except that the job should be done and be done well. A company like Hostess Brands should not have been the last one to the party in securing the hostess.com domain name, and when it comes to domain name rights, last place is usually any place other than first place.
Tip of the hat to the ESQwire.com law firm, which represented Domain Capital, and best of luck to Hostess Brands.