Tuesday, July 31, 2007

From the squished squatter department:

Carnival Corp, the owner of the classic Queen Elizabeth 2, won the rights to the internet domain QE2.com before the World Intellectual Property Organization today.

Carnival found that Prime Choice, a web design and hosting company in Virginia, had registered the domain in August 2000 but never developed it. Carnival, on the other hand, owns the trademark on "QE2" and "Queen Elizabeth 2." The ship was built in 1969.

The WIPO found that Prime Choice "lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name."

This is believed to be a case of "cybersquatting" where someone without any connection to the name registers it either in hopes of eventually selling it to someone with a legitimate claim to it, or to divert traffic to their own website. Either way, for the last several years, the practice hasn't been allowed under internet rules, and in these cases the domain is transferred to the rightful owner by the WIPO. Had Prime Choice developed an active website with a name such as Quick Edward's Second Website, Carnival may have had a tougher time before the WIPO.

A Carnival spokesperson today told CND that the company has no immediate plans to utilize the domain, but they were "protecting [their] intellectual property rights."

Ironically, Carnival Corp just recently made a deal to sell the classic liner at the end of next year.