Qatar’s Tourism Council launched a fight over a domain name, and now it needs to defend itself in U.S. Court.
A man from Azerbaijan is suing the Qatar National Tourism Council—in Colorado.
Teymur Mehdiyev filed a lawsuit (pdf) in U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, after the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ordered that his domain VisitQatar.com be transferred to the tourism council.
The WIPO panel made this decision despite Mehdiyev having a registered trademark in the U.S. for “Visit Qatar”.
By filing the lawsuit, the domain name transfer will be stayed pending the outcome of the suit.
So why Colorado? When the tourism council filed the dispute, it agreed to submit to the jurisdiction where the domain name registrar is located. The domain name is registered with Name.com, a company in Denver.
Mehdiyev is asking the court to declare that his ownership of VisitQatar.com does not constitute cybersquatting. He’s also asking for a finding of reverse domain name hijacking, which comes with a penalty as high as $100,000.
Now, Qatar’s tourism council must defend itself in U.S. court or it might find itself on the wrong end of a judgment.