Trademark Owner Can’t Hold GoDaddy Liable for Domain Name Forwarding — Berhad v. GoDaddy

9 01 2012

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Berhad v. GoDaddy, C 09-5939 PJH (N.D. Cal.; Jan. 3, 2012)

Plaintiff, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), a government owned entity, owns the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. It’s trying to enforce its trademark rights against two domain names ( and In mid-2010, it quickly obtained relief against both domain names, via in rem actions. These aren’t the disputes before the court. Prior to obtaining in rem relief against the domain names, Petronas urged GoDaddy to disable the website and domain names (the domain names were registered to GoDaddy and GoDaddy provided forwarding services, which pointed the domain names to porn sites). GoDaddy demurred, stating that as the registrar, it could not adjudicate Petronas’s cybersquatting claim and since it did not host the underlying sites, it couldn’t process Petronas’s trademark infringement claim. Petronas is trying to hold GoDaddy liable for not ‘disabling’ the domain name and website at Petronas’s urging. It asserted claims for cybersquatting and contributory cybersquatting against GoDaddy. Its hook for trying to hold GoDaddy liable? GoDaddy “used” the domain names by providing forwarding services for its customers.

Cybersquatting claim:

Contributory Cybersquatting:

Cancellation of Petronas’s Mark:


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