Qatar Airways sues owner of VisitQatar.com in continuation of a long-running battle.
After one Qatar state entity lost its attempt to get the domain VisitQatar.com through a cybersquatting claim, another state entity has sued the domain owner for trademark infringement.
In November 2019, Qatar National Tourism Council won a questionable UDRP against the domain name owner, who lives in Azerbaijan. The domain owner subsequently sued in U.S. court (where the tourism council agreed to jurisdiction) and got the court to agree that he wasn’t cybersquatting with the name.
Having lost the cybersquatting dispute, Qatar Airways is now suing (pdf) the domain owner for trademark infringement. The Secretary General of the tourism council is the CEO of state-owned Qatar Airways.
The airline claims that the site uses the image of an oryx that the airline uses in its logo. It also says that VisitQatar.com “links to third party travel booking services using Qatar Airways’ Oryx Marks.” It’s referring to the site using a third-party booking engine which, unsurprisingly, shows the logos of the airlines next to corresponding booking options.
Interestingly, Qatar Airways chose to sue the domain owner in U.S. court in the Eastern District of Virginia. That’s where Verisign is located.
Update: Baraa Kahf of Knobbe Martens, a law firm that represents the Qatar National Tourism Council and Qatar Airways, clarified that the Council still has an ongoing trademark claim in Colorado court, and that it intends to appeal the Colorado decision on cybersquatting:
The case between Mr. Mehdiyev and the Qatar National Tourism Council in the District Court for the District of Colorado continues with NTC’s trademark infringement claim against Mr. Mehdiyev. NTC has asserted that Mr. Mehdiyev’s use of “VISIT QATAR” infringes its common law trademark rights in the mark, and NTC is seeking transfer of the domain name as a remedy for his infringement. This is wholly independent from NTC’s Anticybersquatting claim, which was the subject of the court’s recent decision. Moreover, the court’s decision regarding NTC’s Anticybersquatting claim is not final because it will be subject to appeal, which NTC plans to pursue.