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    Valero Takes Action to Protect Itself from XXX Sites

    Companies worry about cybersquatting on their brand names.

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas --

    Valero Energy Corp.

    has moved to protect its name from potentially being associated with smutty online content following the move by the adult-entertainment industry to distinguish their sites with .xxx designations late last year.

    According to the website MySA.com, some well-known companies failed to claim their .xxx domains, including at least two San Antonio companies.

    When the .xxx designations went live late last year as a way to distinguish adult-entertainment sites, many companies not part of the adult-entertainment industry moved quickly to block domains affiliated with their brands, explained the web site, which reported that Valero earlier this month took steps to secure the domain name Valero.xxx after it was acquired by a Netherlands man on Dec. 6 -- the first day domain names went on sale to the public.

    Last week, the site's registrant said he planned to turn over the rights to the site to Valero after the oil refiner and convenience store retailer filed an action with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which mediates domain-name disputes.

    Another San Antonio-based retailer, H-E-B Grocery, also filed an action with the National Arbitration Forum against an Atlanta man who acquired the HEB.xxx domain.

    On Dec. 1, the grocer blocked H-E-B.xxx, according to MySA.com. A company spokeswoman wouldn't comment on whether the grocer would block other domains that incorporate the brand's name, such as MyHEB.xxx, HEBgrocery.xxx, and HEBsucks.xxx. The grocery chain owns the .com versions of those domains.

    The San Antonio Business Journal first reported on the H-E-B and Valero cases last week. To combat so-called cybersquatting, ICM Registry announced Dec. 13 that it would "suspend registrations that appear to involve unmistakable, blatant cybersquatting," according to the report.

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