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Petroliam Nasional Berhad v. GoDaddy.com, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 4, 2013

PETROLIAM NASIONAL BERHAD, (Petronas), Plaintiff-counter-claim-defendant-Appellant,
v.
GODADDY.COM, INC., Defendant-counter-claimant-Appellee.

Argued and Submitted Oct. 8, 2013.

Page 547

Perry Reed Clark (argued), Palo Alto, CA, for Plaintiff-counter-claim-defendant-Appellant.

Page 548

John Lawrence Slafsky (argued), David L. Lansky, and Evan M.W. Stern, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto, CA, for Defendant-counter-claimant-Appellee.

Ian Charles Ballon and Lori Chang, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for Amicus Curiae eNom, Inc.

Aaron M. McKown and Paula L. Zecchini, Wrenn Bender LLP, Irvine, CA, for Amici Curiae Network Solutions, LLC and Register.com, Inc.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Phyllis J. Hamilton, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 4:09-cv-05939-PJH.

Before: DOROTHY W. NELSON, MILAN D. SMITH, JR., and SANDRA S. IKUTA, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

M. SMITH, Circuit Judge:

In this appeal, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) requests that we read a cause of action for contributory cybersquatting into the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA or Act), 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d). Because we conclude that neither the plain text nor the purpose of the ACPA provide support for such a cause of action, we hold that there is none. We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court.

FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

Petrolium Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is a major oil and gas company with its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Petronas owns the trademark to the name " PETRONAS." GoDaddy.com, Inc. (GoDaddy) is the world's largest domain name registrar, maintaining over 50 million domain names registered by customers around the world. GoDaddy also provides domain name forwarding services, which, like its registration service, enables Internet users who type in a particular domain name to arrive at the target site specified by GoDaddy's customer, the registrant.

In 2003, a third party registered the domain names " petronastower.net" and " petronastowers.net" through a registrar other than GoDaddy. In 2007, the owner of those names transferred its registration service to GoDaddy. The registrant used GoDaddy's domain name forwarding service to direct the disputed domain names to the adult web site, " camfunchat.com," which was hosted on a web server maintained by a third party, and which had been associated with the disputed domain names, using the previous registrar.

In late 2009, a Petronas subsidiary responsible for ferreting out potential trademark infringement contacted GoDaddy and requested that it " take action against the website associated with the ‘ petronastower.net’ domain name." Officials from the Malaysian and U.S. governments also contacted GoDaddy regarding the domain name. GoDaddy investigated the issue, but took no action with respect to the alleged cybersquatting because (1) it did not host the site; and (2) it was prevented by the ...


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