Donald Trump is once again running for US President in 2024, but while he has his challenges in that area, he’s lost the battle to claim a domain name for his Mar-a-Lago Club just recently.
Back in 1997, Marq Quarius registered two domain names. One was maralago.com and the other was mar-a-lago.com. Donald Trump obviously wanted to get hold of both but was unsuccessful in claiming the mar-a-lago.com domain after a recent complaint lodged with the World Intellectual Property Organization (otherwise known as WIPO).
At the time of writing, a decision about the maralago.com domain name remains unknown. However, Marq Quarius doesn’t own that domain anymore, so the complaint regarding that domain name is against the current owner rather than Quarius.
So, why did Trump and the club fail in getting hold of the mar-a-lago.com domain name?
Put simply, it’s down to three much-loved and much missed pets.
Yes, it might seem like an odd reason, but the domain name owner said that the name was derived from three pets – Mar after the owner, Marq, A for Alfred, and Lago for Lag, a cat owned by the domain name owner’s family. The odds of those names leading to the Mar a Lago combination are… interesting. One of the panellists involved with the case clearly wasn’t that convinced either but did go on to highlight that Quarius had developed a memorial to those pets on the site the domain name led to. Clearly, this did support the rather unusual defence. Furthermore, it was proven that Quarius claimed and registered the domain name before the Mar a Lago Club had trademarked its name.
The same panellist also pointed out that the website on the domain name was never used commercially. Furthermore, no attempt was made to sell the domain to the club at any stage. Donald Trump’s club did attempt to purchase it at one point, and Quarius asked that proceeds from the sale, if it occurred, were sent to charity, rather than making a profit off it.
So, it appears that the complaint of cybersquatting did not hold up. Despite the slightly bizarre nature of the domain name choice, the facts do not support cybersquatting by Quarius. He purchased the name some 26 years ago at the time of writing. He hasn’t tried to make money from the site at any stage since then. He didn’t even consider making any money by selling the name to the club when they did contact him.
Given the outcome of this case, it will be interesting to see how the complaint against the second domain pans out. It may depend on why the current owner purchased the name and whether any commercial reasons were behind it. Certainly, we can’t assume the same outcome will occur from that complaint. We can assure you that we’ll be watching closely to see what happens, though. This story might just have a few twists and turns left in it yet.