The domain now points to Instructure’s Canvas brand page.
The domain name moved from GoDaddy to Namecheap in recent weeks. That’s the same registrar Instructure uses. And Instructure is monitoring traffic to the domain with a tracking URL.
So it appears that Instructure now owns the domain.
Here’s how we got here and the questions that remain:
Instructure (NYSE: INST) sued Canvas in November 2021, arguing that the latter company’s rebrand from Jumpstart to Canvas infringed its trademarks.
The judge in the case issued a preliminary injunction in favor of Instructure and ordered Canvas to stop using the Canvas brand within 15 days. This included changing its domain name away from Canvas.com.
Canvas appealed but couldn’t get the appeals court to reverse the preliminary injunction. The company missed the court’s deadline, and the judge found it in contempt of court.
With its legal options closing, Canvas rebranded to Untapped and moved to the domain untapped.io. It also settled with Instructure.
Terms of the settlement between Canvas/Untapped and Instructure were not disclosed. But a big question I’ve been tracking was what would happen to the canvas.com domain name.
The issue was thorny because Canvas did not actually own the canvas.com domain. It had entered into a lease-to-own deal with the domain’s owner, Branded Holding Group, LLC.
Before Canvas/Untapped acquired the domain through the lease-to-own deal, Instructure had tried to acquire the domain but didn’t want to pay the asking price.
Part of Instructure’s original claim was cybersquatting. Did Canvas/Untapped have a clause in its lease agreement that forced it to defend the domain? Did it end up acquiring the domain and transferring it to Instructure?
It’s not clear at this point.
I reached out to Instructure last week about the apparent acquisition and have not heard back. An email address I had for Branded Holding Group bounced. (I’ve subsequently reached out to its founder on LinkedIn and will update this story if I hear back.) I also checked Instructure’s latest SEC filings and could not find any mention of the domain name.
So it seems likely that Instructure now owns the domain, but the details of the domain acquisition are not clear.
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