Speaker Profile: Zak Muscovitch

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Zak Muscovitch
Attorney — DNattorney.com
Twitter: @DNattorney


Session Name: Top 5 Priorities the ICA Should Set for the Upcoming UDRP Reform
Location: Toronto, ON
Favourite extension: .com
Domain name you wished you owned: Technodome.com, because my client won this case years ago and kept the domain name, but since let it lapse.
Now reading: Mr. Classic by Jeremy Hackett
Now watching: Narcos on Netflix
Best city for a conference: Hong Kong, but not when it’s humid!
Mentor: Unfortunately, I never had one when it came to domain name law as the field was so new in 1999.


Describe your company and how long you have been there.
I have been practicing domain name law since 1999. My first case involved the domain name, Technodome. It was a UDRP that started in 1999. It ended up going all the way to the Federal Court of Appeal and was one of the first in rem cases under the ACPA. My second case was a fight between Toronto.com and Toronto2.com. I read about the case and the unrepresented defendant in the newspaper and took it on pro bono. That is where I really learned the ropes of trademark law and domain names.

What can attendees look forward to during your session?
At NamesCon, we will have a serious discussion about what changes people want to see come about for the UDRP. We will also feature some of the worst UDRP decisions from the past year, and will be giving out a very special award to someone who has helped domain name registrants for a very long time.

What can attendees do in order to prepare for your session? Are there any questions or scenarios they should consider in advance?
If you want to get a sense of the kinds of problems we are facing with the UDRP, you can read about a very bad case on CircleID here.

Also, prior to NamesCon, the Internet Commerce Association will be releasing its draft 2018 UDRP Reform Policy Platform on the InternetCommerce.org website.

What would you like attendees to learn or take away from your session?
I would like to see attendees realize what a big fight it is to maintain domain name owner rights, and what they can do to help.

Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers?
As a lawyer, I have been fighting for domain name owners for 18 years, and as ICA Interim General Counsel for just a handful of weeks. The ICA stands up for domain name investor rights on behalf of the entire community.

What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming NamesCon?
I love NamesCon. It is the single annual event that I will never miss. It is an opportunity to reconnect with friends, clients, and new business associates.

Whats something most people don’t know about you?
I once nearly cried in court. A judge put me through the ringer but I didn’t back down no matter how many times he tried to shut me down. I thought I had lost the case, but then he adjourned it and came back and apologized to me in open court and told me I was right all along. It was a very moving experience. I worked through law school as a waiter, and a bartender once told me, “Don’t take sh*t from judges.” I remembered those words while in court!

How did you get your start in the industry?
By accident. I had wanted to get into Intellectual Property Law because it sounded so cool. But I got a job in Personal Injury instead. So I kept looking for cases to get into my chosen field, and ended up finding one in the newspaper. I offered my services, weeks after passing the bar, to a defendant who needed an attorney. We won the case, and the rest is history.

What advice can you offer those who are just getting their start in the domain or related industry?
Nothing ever gets repeated exactly; new opportunities will arise and they will look different from the old ones so keep an eye out not for repetition, but for merit.

What was one of your biggest “A-ha!” moments in life?
When I realized that  just about everyone doesn’t really know what they are doing most of the time; everybody is always learning new things by necessity.

How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?
I always wanted to be a lawyer. It was only recently that I realized that if I had applied myself at McDonalds in the same way that I applied myself in high school, college, and law school, that I would have risen through the corporate ranks from fry boy and been far more successful.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
I usually tell them I do internet law, and usually they say, “cool,” and the conversation ends there.

If you had 15 extra minutes each day, what would you do with them?
Learn Japanese. That was originally my plan when I bought a stationary exercise bicycle for my office. I was going to learn Japanese and get in shape a the same time. Never happened.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
I always try to keep Winston Churchill in mind, because of his quote, applies to so many situations: in War—Resolution; In Defeat—Defiance; In Victory—Magnanimity; in Peace: Goodwill.

What’s the latest and greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
I am proud of nearly every case that I win because I give each one 100% and I love to see an appreciative client who knows what I did for them.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
“Don’t take sh*t from judges. Remember you got a job to do that is every bit as important as theirs.”

Where is your favourite place to escape?
I love Hong Kong. I love jogging along the promenade near the ocean at dawn.

What object would you put in a time capsule that best represents who you are today?
Unfortunately it would be a computer keyboard together with a cervical pillow.

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