August 1, 2007

Carnival wins rights to QE2 Web site in court

This appeared on CNN

"GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Carnival, the world's largest cruise operator, on Tuesday won exclusive rights to "" after the firm that registered the Internet site was found to have no link to its most famous ocean liner.

Prime Choice, a web design and site hosting company based in the U.S. state of Virginia, did not contest the complaint filed against it at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency in Geneva.

A WIPO panel agreed with Carnival's claim that Prime Choice "lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name" which it registered in August 2000 but did not develop.

Its ruling found it "highly unlikely" that the U.S. company was unfamiliar with the QE2 trademark, which is an abbreviation of the "Queen Elizabeth 2" ocean liner launched by Carnival's Cunard Line in 1969.

"It is difficult to conceive of any plausible actual or contemplated actual use of the domain name by the respondent (Prime Choice) that would not be illegitimate or an infringement of the complainant's trademark rights," it said.

WIPO has handled some 10,500 such cases of "cybersquatting," where outsiders register domain names to which they have no genuine claim in order to divert browsers to their own sites or to sell the rights to the site to interested parties.

Past cybersquatting cases have involved commercial brands including oil firms and hotel chains, prominent film stars and actors, writers, and internationally-known sports clubs. Last week the News Corp. unit Twentieth Century Fox won the right to "" site run by a U.S. podcaster. E-mail to a friend"

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