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Recent Case Notes & Commentary

Domain Times Department of Humour

Morgan Stanley v. Meow (NAF Case no. FA0671304) (22 May 2006) is authority for the proposition that a domain name may not be registered in the name of a cat.

The first interesting thing about this case is the Respondent, appropriately named Meow, (“Respondent”), Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB, obviously a very grand cat.

The second interesting feature is her address, again, appropriately, in a barn: Ashbed Barn, Boraston Track, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR15 8LQ, GB.

The third feature is the pawcity of the panel’s argument on the issue of bad faith.

Morgan Stanley had complained about the registration of <>, as the domain name copied the name of one of its products, its platinum credit card and had been registered in bad faith, using a false address.

Baroness Penelope replied that she was a cat, but had allowed her owner to use the domain name and that the allegation of bad faith was “an insult and a deformation of my character.”

Furthermore, there were “an immense number of Domain Names registered by non human beings.”

Finally, the Baroness submitted that the registration address was “not incorrect as Ashbed Barn is a barn conversion close to Ashbed Cottage”.

On the issue of bad faith, the panel found that someone had clearly submitted a written response, which meant that either the person who did so was a human being and the claim that it was a cat was therefore false, or alternatively, it was a cat, but clearly “not a common cat, that is not a Felix domesticus“, but rather “a different species of cat”, “such as the one that stars in the motion picture Cat From Outer Space”.

If the cat were a cat from outer space, it must have had something to hide, which was indicative of bad faith, but if it was not, then the Respondent was misleading the panel and that was also bad faith, so the case had been made out.

However, the panel had the good grace to admit that “the Panel, unlike Queen Victoria, is amused”.

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