Nov '23

Trump Loses Battle For Mar-A-Lago Domain To Pet Memorial – Forbes

Trump failed to reclaim the mar-a-lago.com domain
Donald Trump has lost a battle to get hold of the mar-a-lago.com domain after failing to convince The World Intellectual Property Organization that it was being used by a cybersquatter.
The domain was registered more than 25 years ago by Marq Quarius, a Florida resident who claims to have registered the domain in tribute to pets that have died.
He claims the domain was named after three animals. “Mar” was apparently a dog named after Marq Quaris himself; the “A” represents “Alfred,” a duck named after the film director Alfred Hitchcock; while “Lago” was a nickname for “Lag,” a cat that Mr Quarius’ family rescued.
The site was originally conceived as a place for anyone to post memorials of their pets, but it doesn’t appear to have taken off. Instead, it now serves as a rather dated-looking memorial to Mr Quarius’ mother, with “words of inspiration from around the world.”
The argument that the site was registered as a memorial to dead pets seemingly cut little ice with the former president, whose representatives argued it was “confusingly similar” to the registered trademarks of MAR-A-LAGO and THE MAR-A-LAGO CLUB, both of which refer to the luxury property that Trump owns.
“It is evident that Respondent has registered and maintains the disputed domain name in bad faith with an intent to cause confusion, for commercial gain, and to deprive Complainant of using its famous trademarks as domain name to promote his business,” Trump’s representatives argued.
However, the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center wasn’t persuaded by Trump’s arguments, pointing out that “Respondent has retained and used the disputed domain name for essentially non-commercial purposes for more than 25 years, without trying to sell it to the Complainant or third parties.”
“Even when the Complainant tried to purchase it, the Respondent asked for the proceeds to be given to a charity,” WIPO’s adjudication added. “These facts are not consistent with typical cybersquatting behavior and lend credence to the Respondent’s account.”
The WIPO panel did raise an eyebrow at the way the domain name was arrived at, stating that, “the account given by the Respondent as to his reason for having registered the disputed domain name may seem to be a stretch; to the extent this explanation could be fabricated and sought to mask an intent to cybersquat.”
However, it added that proving such intent would “require detailed evidence and information,” which wasn’t provided in Trump’s complaint. Consequently, the complaint was denied.
Domain industry experts say such cybersquatting disputes are common, but that the Trump organization didn’t arrive with sufficient evidence.
“The big companies will use professional IP firms, who were very diligent about what they’re filing and make sure that every box is ticked before they file,” said Stuart Fuller, the top-level domain services director at Com Laude. “To me, this suggests that the Trump Organization is using the fact that they are the Trump Organization to bully the guy into into selling the name.”
Nowadays, companies such as Com Laude will help big firms ensure that their intellectual property is protected across multiple top-level domains, but such services didn’t exist 25 years ago when the mar-a-lago.com domain was registered. “It literally was the Wild West in terms of filing registrations,” said Fuller.




Joker has been buying and selling domains since the late 90's. He has worked with many portfolios and investors over the past decade as well.

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