Ninth Circuit Affirms Go Daddy Victory in Cybersquatting Dispute

On December 4, 2013, the firm secured a significant court victory for client Go Daddy, the world's largest registrar of Internet domain names. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment to Go Daddy, dismissing a federal court lawsuit brought by Petronas, the state-owned oil and gas company of Malaysia. Petronas had sought to hold Go Daddy liable for the activities of a Go Daddy customer, who allegedly had registered two infringing domain names ("petronastower.net" and "petronastowers.net") and used them for improper purposes, luring viewers to a pornographic website.

In an important development in Internet law, the Ninth Circuit—the first federal appellate court to address this issue—held that there is no cause of action for "contributory cybersquatting"; each of the federal district courts that previously had considered this issue had ruled otherwise. The appeals court also articulated a number of important public-policy rationales for limiting liability for registrars and Internet service providers generally.

The Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati team representing Go Daddy in the matter included partners John Slafsky and Tonia Klausner, associate Evan Stern, senior paralegal Patrick McKinley, and executive assistant Vira Minjarez.

For more information, please click here to view the Ninth Circuit's opinion.