Hövding is a Swedish innovation company that in 2005 got the unique idea to create an “airbag for cyclists”. In 2006 they went on to win the Venture Cup for young entrepreneurs, and in the same year they formed the company Hövding Sweden AB with the goal of getting the product to market. The journey from concept into an approved and certified product then took seven years. Today, Hövding is sold in 16 markets in Europe as well as in Japan. Presently, Hövding has sold over 50 000 airbags. According to tests conducted at Stanford University, Hövding’s unique airbag for cyclists provides up to eight times better protection against concussion compared to traditional bicycle helmets.
At the time of initiating the partnership between Ports Group and Hövding, Hövding had found themselves in the same situation as many other rapidly growing companies. They had registered domain names and set up hosting services in different stages of their development, at different suppliers, with different contact information, and no strategy for protecting the markets they plan to be launching in within 5-10 years. Together, we created an analysis of the current state of the domain names. This included the domain names that were registered by Hövding or their partners, but also the ones that were registered by previously unknown parties with dubious intentions. At the same time, a plan was formulated for which domain names for potential future markets that ought to be added to the portfolio. Once this was completed, an action plan was formulated for creating a consolidated and uniform domain name portfolio, free from infringements. The project was given to Ports Group’s domain name consultants that initiated a clean-up that included transfer of all domain names, updating all contact and owner information, as well as transferring the hosting services, of course without affecting Hövding’s web operations. Simultaneously, additional domain registrations for protecting future markets and relevant new generic top-level domains were made, all according to the plan.
Cease-and-desist letters and takeover of domains
In the initial domain name analysis, a couple of domain names were found and perceived as ones that, according to the overall plan, ought to have been registered by Hövding. Hövding had previously been considering acquiring these domain names from their owners at the time. However, Ports Group recommended a preliminary investigation in order to evaluate the possibilities to legally claim rights to the domain names. The investigations clearly showed that Hövding’s chances of winning a potential domain name dispute, regarding all affected domain names, were good. Luckily, it rarely has to go that far. Before a domain name dispute is initiated, a cease-and-desist letter containing information and an injunction to hand over the domain name is always sent to the current owner. The reasons are twofold; firstly, it is a requirement to be able to initiate a domain name dispute that the owner has been informed in advance; secondly, a cease-and-desist letter often enough to reach the goal of getting control of the domain name. In all of Hövding’s cases we never needed to proceed with a dispute since all domain names were transferred to us as a result of the cease-and-desist letters.
Management and Watch Services
The result is that Hövding today has a domain name portfolio that is consistent and according to plan, and is managed in a service where Ports Group has taken over both the administrative and legal responsibility for renewals. Furthermore, the previously scattered hosting services, such as DNS, are now consolidated and administered by the domain name consultants at Ports Group. Last but not least, the domain name portfolio is continuously monitored with Watch Services in order to identify domain name registrations that potentially could pose a threat to the Hövding brand.