Cybersquatter Loses Legal Battle in Trademark Case
Canada.com reported that Jeff Burgar, an Alberta entrepeneur, has lost a battle on the international stage after the United Nations’ domain-name arbitration body upheld Tom Cruise’s right to the website www.tomcruise.com.
Cruise’s lawyers convinced the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization that Burgar must give up control of the website because he has no legitimate reason to be occupying an internet address exploiting Ton Cruise’s global stardom.
The panel, headed by Florida State University law professor Frederick Abbott, concluded Burgar’s “alleged bona fide use of the disputed domain name is a pretext for attracting internet users to its advertising and revenue-generating site…Free speech does not by definition entail a right to take unfair commercial advantage of a trademark.”
About ten years ago, Burgar saw the potential in the internet and began registering celebrity domain names. At the time there were few restrictions to prevent this. But now, the World Intellectual Property Organization handles disputes over legitimate ownership of such websites. The WIPO is one of 16 specialized agencies in the United Nations.