Israel Harold Asper v. Communication X Inc.
World Intellectual Property Organization
Case No. D2001-0540 (2001)
Israel Harold Asper (plaintiff), known as Izzy Asper, was a famous Canadian broadcast-media magnate who established several news corporations. None of the corporations bore Asper’s name, and Asper did not establish an unregistered or registered trademark in his name. Peter Zahoruk was the president and director of Communication X, Inc. (defendant). Zahoruk registered domain names that were identical to the names of celebrities, including the domain names izzyasper.com, izzyasper.net, and izzyasper.org. An attorney for Communication X sent an email from the address [email protected] to one of Asper’s corporations, asking Asper to contact the attorney about Zahoruk’s registration of the three sites, seemingly suggesting that the domain names were for sale. Zahoruk forwarded the email to other Canadian news organizations. Zahoruk then used the domain names to publish a game called “Who Wants to Be a Canadian Media Baron?” Asper filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization, seeking an order for Communication X to transfer the three domain names to Asper. One of Asper’s arguments was that Communication X did not have any rights or legitimate interests in registering and using the three domain names. Zahoruk responded that the game was his satirical response to public criticism about Asper, constituting a fair use and legitimate interest in registering and using the site, but did not offer a good-faith explanation for the emails.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Branson, Panelist)
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