Morgan Stanley takes on Meow

The IPKat's friends Marty Schwimmer (Trademark Blog), Margaret Marks (of Transblawg fame) and Cedric Manara, not to mention the redoubtable Markenblog, all spotted the National Arbitration Forum UDRP decision of 22 May 2006 in Morgan Stanley v Meow, Claim Number FA0604000671304 (full text here).

To keep a long story short, the respondent, "Meow, Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB", said it let Mr Woods (a human) use the domain name registration in providing a service. The Arbitration Panel said:

"Respondent maintains that it is a cat, that is, a well-known carnivorous quadruped which has long been domesticated. However, it is equally well-known that the common cat, whose scientific name is Felis domesticus, cannot speak or read or write. Thus, a common cat could not have submitted the Response (or even have registered the disputed domain name). Therefore, either Respondent is a different species of cat, such as the one that stars in the motion picture “Cat From Outer Space,” or Respondent’s assertion regarding its being a cat is incorrect.

If Respondent is in fact a cat from outer space, then it should have so indicated in its reply, in order to avoid unnecessary perplexity by the Panel. Further, it should have explained why a cat from outer space would allow Mr. Woods to use the disputed domain name. In the absence of such an explanation, the Panel must conclude that, if Respondent is a cat from outer space, then it may have something to hide, and this is indicative of bad faith behavior.

On the other hand, if Respondent’s assertion regarding its being a cat is incorrect, then Respondent has undoubtedly attempted to mislead this Panel and has provided incorrect WHOIS information. Such behavior is indicative of bad faith. See Video Direct Distribs. Inc. v Video Direct, Inc., FA 94724 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 5, 2000) (finding that the respondent acted in bad faith by providing incorrect information to the registrar regarding the owner of the registered name); see also Quixtar Invs., Inc. v Smithberger, D2000-0138 (WIPO Apr. 19, 2000) (finding that use of false registration information constitutes bad faith).

Respondent cites Morgan Stanley v Michael Woods, FA 604103 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 16, 2005), in which the Panel found that Complainant had failed to prove bad faith registration and use. But that case must be distinguished from the present case, because in that case the Respondent was Mr Woods, and not a cat or someone who has misled the Panel by pretending to be a cat.

The Panel finds that Respondent’s assertions that it is a cat provide sufficient evidence to conclude that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. And this despite the fact that the Panel, unlike Queen Victoria, is amused".

The Panel might be amused, but the two thoroughly articulate pussies who run this blog are not...

Feline vocalisation here and here
Teach your cat to speak here
Computer-generated talking cat on TV delights Iowa woman here
The Cat from Outer Space here
MORGAN STANLEY TAKES ON MEOW MORGAN STANLEY TAKES ON MEOW Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 Rating: 5


  1. Hi

    May I compliment you on your article about the tribunal between Morgan Stanley and myself it was very entertaining. I thought you may like to read my email to Dr. Hill following the decision so I paste it at the bottom of this mail.
    As I suspect MS's intellectual property lawyers will pursue it, I've got Tabitha one of the junior members of my clowder to register in the recent past, before your and other articles were published I might add. One can't blame CLL for doing it as it means nice fat fees for very little work. MS have wasted many thousands of dollars pursuing from Michael Woods and failing and many more getting from me, these are domain names they don't want and are doing them no harm.
    If they, as I suspect they will, pursue then it will serve as a good example of the failure to control costs for Michael Woods to use in his seminars. Lawyers are not inexpensive in the USA so we are talking about considerable sums being wasted, I'm surprised a shareholder hasn't raised the issue at an AGM but I suppose with so much going wrong at MS it couldn't be fitted in.
    Kind regards.

    Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB

    Dear Dr. Hill

    Thank you very much for your eloquent decision in this matter I was beginning to think that a sense of humour had died out in the USA, I might add I was not alone in this perception. I do however have to disagree with you on a number of points. I do exist and I speak a number of languages one of which is Catuman which evolved in my species to satisfy a desire to motivate human beings. I certainly do not come from a distant galaxy I was born at Boraston Court on 1st November 1987 I now dwell in the hamlet of Ashbed where there is a clowder of cats, as you are probably aware social groups of Felix Domestics have a matriarchal structure and I am the senior member of this clowder. No one has previously had the audacity to refer to me as common, my pedigree is considered to be superior and subsequently I have been head of my clowder for some twelve years.

    I must apologize for the standard of Mr. Woods's response, as normal he left it till the last minute and due to circumstances beyond his control found himself at 5:30 a.m. BST with an incomplete and unrevised document that he had to send. If you could take the trouble to look at his responses in the previous complaint you would get an idea of what it should have been like. He and I are particularly annoyed at not addressing some erroneous statements made by the Complainant for example what they alleged about my e-mail to Zoe Crux.

    My first instinct was to appeal against your decision, but having read it and discovered that you have a good sense of humour I feel it would be discourteous to do so and subsequently will refrain. I wish you and your family a happy future and encourage you too urge your fellow citizens, hard as it is, to put 9/11 behind them and revert to being the really nice and courteous people they once were.

    Kind regards


    Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB

  2. Thanks, Baroness, for keeping us so well posted!

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