Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset Loses Rights to Expired Internet Domain Name

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images was purchased by a former Miss Universe contender for an undisclosed amount.

ROME – Mediaset, the film and television giant controlled by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday officially lost the rights to the Internet domain name, Italian newspapers reported.

The domain expired and was put up for action, where it was acquired by a Delaware resident named Didier Madiba for an undisclosed sum. Mediaset appealed to the World Intellectual Property Organization, saying Madiba acquired the name in bad faith, but the complaint was thrown out, saying Madiba did nothing wrong and had acquired the right to use the name legally.

Mediaset, which did not participate in the auction where Madiba bought the name, could have simply renewed their ownership of the name by paying a small fee. But the company let the deadline pass.

Madiba, until now best known for being a member of the Miss Universe competition, said plans are to sell electronic devices -- collectively known as a “media set” --- on the site. The case was based on the fact that the words “media” and “set” were too common to be protected as a kind of intellectual property.

Berlusconi’s lawyers will presumably appeal the decision, or they could make Madiba an offer he can’t refuse in order to reacquire rights to the name they made famous.