July 25, 2006 04:47:57 GMT
Tom Cruise won an off-screen combat against a cyber-pirate who was using his name for advertising.
Action movie star Tom Cruise wins his domain namesake, TomCruise.com, from notorious cyber-squatter Jeff Burgar, who uses the sites to redirect visitors to his Celebrity1000.com Website.
Burgar had owned and operated TomCruise.com since 1996. He is well known to WIPO, the U.N.'s World Intellectual Property Organization, having previously gone before panels to argue his right to own domain names including CelineDion.com, KevinSpacey.com, PamelaAnderson.com, and BruceSpringsteen.com.
Lawyers for Cruise claimed the actor had "common law trademark and service mark rights" to the term Tom Cruise; that Burgar was making money off the actor's name through third-party ads on his Celebrity1000.com site; and that visitors to the site might be confused into believing that Cruise was somehow affiliated with it.
On the other hand, Burgar argued that the site was a fansite that included a biography of Cruise and that his use of the domain should be protected by free speech.
In fact, WIPO has awarded Cruise custody of TomCruise.com, stating in its decision that "free speech does not by definition entail a right to take unfair commercial advantage of a trademark", and thus ordering Burgar who had been operating the site to turn the URL over to its rightful owner.