Dorer v. Arel, 60 F.Supp.2d 558 (E.D. Va. 1999)(full-text).
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
Plaintiff sued defendant in part for using its mark as a domain name. After defendant failed to respond, the court entered default judgment for plaintiff, awarding $5,000 in statutory damages and enjoining use of plaintiff's mark. The court did not order transfer of the infringing domain-name registration.
When defendant failed to pay, plaintiff requested a writ of fieri facias seeking transfer of the domain name in satisfaction of its money judgment. In assessing whether a domain name was the type of property subject to a lien, the court disagreed with the Virginia Circuit Court's reasoning in Umbro that domain-name registrations were personal property subject to liens. Significantly, the district court noted that a domain name, like a trademark, was generally valueless apart from the goodwill associated with it. The court also reasoned that because the judgment debtor owned no trademark rights in the domain name, the registration entailed only contract rights; any value creating a property interest in the domain name had to be added by the lawful user, not the judgment debtor. The court also noted, however, that some domain names could have value apart from any goodwill that might be attached (i.e., a generic domain name like "computer.com"). Nonetheless, after an extensive analysis, the court never answered the question, instead requiring the plaintiff to seek recourse through the dispute policies of NSI.
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