Friday, July 16, 2010

Owner of Petronas Twin Towers Files In Rem Cybersquatting Action Against PetronasTowers.Net

Petroliam Nasional Berhad (“Petronas”), the owner of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, filed an in rem cybersquatting lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the domain name See Petroliam Nasional Berhad v., Case No. 10-cv-03052 (N.D. Cal. July 12, 2010). Complaint here (via

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronas is wholly-owned by the Government of Malayasia and was established to develop Malaysia’s petroleum resources. With all of the money it brought in as a successful worldwide oil and gas company, in 1996, Petronas built the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the world until 2004 when Taipei 101 was completed (and both of which have since been overshadowed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai). The towers still hold the title of largest free standing towers in the world. (Of course, how many of you remember the Petronas Towers more for their featured prominence in the plot to the Sean Connery-Catherine Zeta Jones heist film Entrapment?)

Petronas promotes its business on the website and also owns the mirror domain names,, and The official Petronas website promoting the Petronas Twin Towers is And Petronas also holds a trademark registration for the design mark PETRONAS in connection with, among other goods, chemicals and oil.

At issue in the complaint is the domain name, which was registered in May 2003 (currently registered with GoDaddy) and, as a .NET domain name, the registry is with Verisign. WHOIS records reflect the owner of the domain name as an individual in London. The domain name currently hosts an adult website offering live adult videocam shows, adult photos, etc. -- a different type of “twin towers” for certain (but I can’t say that I saw anyone named Petronas).

Petronas requests the court issue an order to GoDaddy to transfer the domain name immediate to Petronas or alternatively, “forever cancelling the domain name” (an unusual alternative request for relief if it’s meant to be just to GoDaddy given that the order would be to a single registrar and would not impact any other registrars who, at the request of a registrant, might register again – perhaps such an order would be better directed to the registry, Verisign. Anybody out there ever obtain such an order?).

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