GoDaddy decision: Trademarks, Cybersquatting, Domain Name Registrants

In a story that was first reported yesterday by the Hollywood Reporter, domain name registrar, parking, and hosting provider, GoDaddy.com NYSE: GDDY, has won at the trial court level, an important and widely watched cybersquatting case. The case may be appealed. Here's the takeaway for domain name registrants--

"Towards the end of the lengthy ruling, the judge says there is a "fundamental problem" with the Academy's theory of liability under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act [ACPA]. He writes, "[I]t confuses GoDaddy’s technical capacity to filter all trademarks with AMPAS’s legal duty to police its own trademarks. At its core, AMPAS’s [Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] ACPA claim would impose upon GoDaddy (and presumably any other company offering parking, hosting, or other basic internet services) the unprecedented duty to act as the internet’s trademark police. The ACPA did not impose such sweeping obligations."" Film Academy Loses to GoDaddy in Oscars Cybersquatting Battle - Hollywood Reporter (September 10, 2015) (emphasis, links, added)

“… every domain name registrant who registers a domain name … represents that (1) his or her domain name does not “violate ... any third party rights;” (2) the owner has no knowledge of any “infring[ment] or conflict with the legal rights of a third party or a third party’s trademark or trade name;” and (3) that the registrant’s website “conforms to all local, state, federal, and internal laws.”…” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences vs. GoDaddy.com, Inc., et al, US District Court, C.D. Ca., Case No. CV 10-03738 AB (CWx), Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (pdf), September 10, 2015 (emphasis added)

See also on Domain Mondo: Registrant Resources:
RFC1591: "The registration of a domain name does not have any Trademark status. It is up to the requestor [registrant] to be sure he is not violating anyone else's Trademark ..." - Jon PostelISI (University of Southern California) March, 1994
The takeaway for Domain Name Registrants? Nothing has changed.


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