GoDaddy Sued Over 'Parked Pages' Program

Dec 24, 2013 4:30 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — In a suit that fingers one of the web's largest registrars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences claims that GoDaddy.com is cybersquatting with "parked pages" in a lawsuit potentially worth $12.2 million.

The suit, amended last week at federal court in Los Angeles, charges that Scottsdale, Ariz.-based GoDaddy has infringed on and deliberately appropriated at least 122 of their marks with such domain names as OscarRedCarpet.com, OscarActor.com, AcademyAwards2015.com and BillyCrystal2012Oscars.com.

If the Academy is successful with the suit, it could pave the way for similar claims from other site operators, including those in the adult biz.

"GoDaddy achieves monetary gain by using the Academy's ... marks to knowingly divert Internet traffic away from plaintiff's legitimate sites to infringing parked domains," the amended complaint said.

The suit, which seeks a restraining order over the practice of scooping up the Academy's trademarks and appropriating them, says GoDaddy registered and monetized the parked domains through its Parked Page Service and Cash Parking Program.

GoDaddy parks registrants' pages and place advertisements on web pages with Parked Page Service; Go Daddy is granted the right to collect and retain all revenue generated by the advertising.

The Cash Parking Program service permits domain registrants to pay a fee to allow GoDaddy through its advertising partner to place ads on the registrant's web page. The revenue generated  through that advertising is then split between the registrant, GoDaddy and GoDaddy's advertising partner.

The Academy, seeking $100,000 for every domain allegedly cybersquatting plus attorneys fees and the injunction, claims that GoDaddy knew it was harming trademark holders, such as its organization, and has even come up with a patent that recognizes the need for systems that identify domains that could yield financial benefits.

The Academy is seeking relief over violations of federal cybersquatting laws and California's unfair and unlawful conduct laws. Its original complaint, filed in November, also listed Google as a defendant; the search giant however was pared from the amended complaint, filed on Dec. 17.

GoDaddy corporate communications officials did not respond to XBIZ for comment on Tuesday.

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