Libya Loses Trademark Battle in U.S.

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A U.S. document expediter can use the term “Libya Embassy” and variations on it in Internet domains without infringing Libya’s rights under the Lanham Act, a federal judge ruled.
     Libya and the Embassy of Libya sued Ahmad Miski in 2006, accusing him of cybersquatting on four web domains that use variations of “Libya” and “Embassy.” The litigation was put on hold last year during the political unrest in Libya.
     Miski bought the domains in 2002 and 2003.
     “Because the plaintiffs have failed to show that they have valid marks entitled to protection, they cannot prevail on their claims under either the Lanham Act or the AntiCybersquatting Consumer Protection Act,” U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled.
     Walton found that the Libyan Embassy used Miski’s document expediting service to facilitate the country’s legalization of documents, a service for which the Embassy charges fees.
     Libya’s point of contention was that Miski used the four websites to “increase the internet search rankings for his own Arab-American Chamber of Commerce website.”
     But Walton ruled that “Libya[n]” and “Embassy” are not registered trademarks, rather descriptive terms.
     He dismissed Libya’s argument that the terms should be protected because it’s “the only entity in the world that can ‘legalize’ documents to be submitted from one country to Libya.”
     Walton ruled that “purchasers and members of the general public need not resort to ‘imagination, thought and perception to reach a conclusion as to the nature of the goods’ or services offered by the Embassy.”
     He also dismissed Miski’s counterclaim against Libya and its embassy for tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, finding that Miski “failed to meet his evidentiary burdens.”

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