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Petronas v. GoDaddy.com

Affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment in an action under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, the panel held that the ACPA does not provide a cause of action for contributory cybersquatting.

Petroliam Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian oil and gas company that owned the trademark to the name “PETRONAS,” alleged that Godaddy.com, Inc., a domain name registrar, engaged in contributory cybersquatting when a registrant used GoDaddy’s domain name forwarding service to direct the domain names “petronastower.net” and petronastowers.net” to an adult web site hosted on a web server maintained by a third party.

The panel held that neither the plain text nor the purpose of the ACPA provided support for a cause of action for contributory cybersquatting. It held that the ACPA created a new and distinct cause of action, and Congress did not incorporate the common law of trademark, including contributory infringement, into the ACPA. The panel therefore affirmed the judgment of the district court.

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