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PETA WINS LANDMARK CYBERSQUATTING CASE
Court Decision Forces "Tasty Animal Eater" to Eat Humble Pie
For Immediate Release:
June 19, 2000
Contact: Tim Enstice 757-622-7382
Norfolk, Va. -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has won its case hands-down against Michael Doughney for his use of the Internet domain name "PETA.ORG." In 1995, Doughney registered "PETA.ORG" with Network Solutions, Inc., for "People Eating Tasty Animals," which he fraudulently represented as a nonprofit organization.
"PETA will always fight to show the public that animals on factory farms go through the grist mill before they end up on the grill," says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.
PETA won the precedent-setting case on three grounds. First, trademark infringement-the PETA trademark belongs to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Doughney had no right to use it. Second, Doughney diluted the value of the trademark by his use of it. Third, Doughney was found in violation of the "Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act," because he appropriated the distinctive and famous "PETA" mark for his own commercial benefit.
In granting summary judgement in favor of PETA, the judge made the following findings: "...Doughney had the requisite bad faith intent" to profit from PETA's mark. He "clearly intended to confuse, mislead, and divert Internet users into accessing his Web site, which contained information antithetical and therefore harmful to the goodwill represented by the PETA mark."
The Judge noted: "Doughney knew he was causing confusion by use of the mark and admitted that it was 'possible' that some Internet users would be confused when they activated 'PETA.ORG' and found the 'People Eating Tasty Animals' Web site. The judge pointed out that Doughney "...has registered other Internet domain names, which are identical or similar to either marks or names of famous people or organizations he opposes," and "Doughney made reference to seeing what PETA would offer him if PETA did not like his Web site."
The judge ordered Doughney to relinquish registration of the domain name "PETA.ORG" and to transfer his registration of the domain name to PETA. Until then, PETA's Web site can be found at www.peta-online.org.