Contributory Cybersquatting Not an Actionable Claim

In Petroliam Nasional Berhad v., Inc., (No. 12-5584) (9th Cir. 2013), Petronas, a major oil and gas company located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia alleged a claim for contributory cybersquatting against GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar.  Cybersquatting is “the bad faith registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to another’s distinctive mark.”  Petronas filed suit for contributory cybersquatting under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(d), after a third party registered the domain names “” and “” and then used GoDaddy’s automated services to direct the domain names to an adult entertainment web site.  The district court granted summary judgment in favor of GoDaddy.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Act did not provide a cause of action for contributory cybersquatting because: (1) no such cause of action can be found in the plain text of the statute; (2) Congress did not intend to implicitly include common law doctrines applicable to trademark infringement in the Act because the Act created a new cause of action distinct from traditional trademark remedies; and (3) allowing suits against domain name registrars for contributory cybersquatting would not advance the goals of the statute.