Monroe, Ga. 7/25/2006 04:23 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)
Jeff Burgar, the notorious cybersquatter known for collecting the domain names of the rich and famous, has been ordered to hand over TomCruise.com by U.N.'s World Intellectual Property Organization.
Burgar had argued that the domain should be protected by his free speech rights, an idea the WIPO disagreed with “free speech does not by definition entail a right to take unfair commercial advantage of a trademark.”
According to Burgar, a Canadian businessman, his Tom Cruise domain site had been up for ten years without any conflict from the Mission Impossible star. Burgar argued to the three person panel that the lengthy delay in pursuing this action led to an implied belief that Tom Cruise “"did not believe Respondent truly had been acting in bad faith."
In a previous uniform domain resolution policy (UDRP) decision, two years was considered a sufficient period of time in which rights to a domain shall be lost. Unfortunately for Burgar this was dismissed by the panel as inaccurate and denied any "meaningful precedent under the Policy for refusing to enforce trademark rights on the basis of a delay in bringing a claim following use of a disputed domain name.”
Tom Cruise’s lawyers were, in the end, able to capitalize on the previous disputes against Burgar. The cyber-pirate had been involved in a number of domain disputes with Celine Dion, Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Archer, Michael Crichton and Pamela Anderson where he had owned the rights to their .com name. Burgar had lost the decision in each of those cases.
Cruise’s lawyer contended that Burgar’s drive was to register his client’s name and then redirect unsuspecting visitors to a Celebrity1000 website filled with third party adds and links.
For Burgar, his free speech defense fell short of convincing the WIPO panel which stated, "free speech does not by definition entail a right to take unfair commercial advantage of a trademark.