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Academy drops Oscar domain suit

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences drops a domain name lawsuit filed over its Oscar and Academy Awards trademarks.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has dropped its lawsuit involving Internet addresses issued to sites playing off its trademarks "Academy Awards" and "Oscar," according to the company that registers Internet domain names.

In a statement issued today, Network Solutions (NSOL) said the Hollywood organization voluntarily dismissed its suit after U.S. District Court Judge Laughlin Waters rejected a request for a preliminary injunction on December 11.

That ruling follows a similar decision November 17 in a domain name case brought by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed has appealed in that case, however.

In the Lockheed case, Network Solutions argued that federal law does not require it to screen applications for Internet addresses for potential trademark infringements. It also said that doing so would slow the Internet's growth, since it registers 100,000 sites per month.

Waters' ruling noted that "the mere registration of a domain name does not constitute a commercial use," which is one of the criteria in determining trademark infringement.

Gabe Battista, Network Solutions' chief executive, said the ruling affirmed NSI's approach to handling sticky trademark issues around domain names.

Network Solutions registers Internet domain names ending in .com, .net, .org, and .edu under an agreement with the National Science Foundation.