In a surprise ruling against an entity not used to courtroom defeats, a federal judge today sided with GoDaddy in its long-running dispute with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscars’ governing body sued the popular Internet domain registrar in 2010 under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act for granting domain names that the Academy alleged infringed on its heavily guarded Oscar trademark. In a decision that weighed in at a hefty 129 pages (read it here), U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birotte Jr said the Academy did not prove that GoDaddy act in bad faith when it issued the domain names.
“AMPAS having failed to meet its burden of proving that GoDaddy acted with a bad faith intent to profit from any of the AMPAS Marks, and GoDaddy having affirmatively defeated any such finding, the Court must enter judgment in GoDaddy’s favor,” Birotte wrote. “Accordingly, the Court need not consider whether any of the remaining 56 Accused Domains are confusingly similar to the AMPAS Marks or determine the appropriate measure of statutory damages.”
Back in November 2013, a different judge ruled that more than 175 domain names submitted by the brand-conscious Academy were “confusingly similar as a matter of law” to those trademarked for the Oscars. But domains such as Saysoscar.com and Oscar-Mike.com remained in play. Now, nearly two years later, the litigious Academy walks away from this legal fight on the losing end and is lickingitswounds.com.