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Fleetboston Financial v. Fleetbostonfinancial.com

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Citation Edit

Fleetboston Fin. Corp. v. Fleetbostonfinancial.com, 138 F.Supp.2d 121 (D. Mass. 2001) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

In a case of first impression, the district court held that the ACPA provides for in rem jurisdiction only in the judicial districts in which the domain name registry, registrar, or domain authority is located.[1]

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

Plaintiff filed suit against the domain name "fleetbostonfinancial.com" in Massachusetts, even though the domain-name registry and registrar were both located outside of Massachusetts. After filing suit, plaintiff arranged for the Virginia-based registrar to deposit the Registrar Certificate with the court.

Plaintiff argued that in rem jurisdiction was proper in Massachusetts under 15 U.S.C. §1125(d)(2)(C), which provides that a domain name has its situs either (i) where the registration authority is located or (ii) in any judicial district in which "documents sufficient to establish control and authority regarding the disposition of the registration and use of the domain name are deposited with the court." Under plaintiff's interpretation of the ACPA, a plaintiff can bring an in rem action in any judicial district it chooses simply by filing a copy of the complaint, sending a copy of the complaint to the domain-name registrar to obtain a Registrar Certificate, and depositing the certificate with the court.

On plaintiff's motion for default, the court declined to enter the default, ordered the Registrar's Certificate returned to the registrar, and dismissed the case. According to the court, plaintiff's interpretation of subparagraph (2)(C)(ii) was inconsistent with the plain language of the statute, was not supported by the "concededly untidy legislative history of the ACPA," and would potentially render the ACPA unconstitutional. In short, subparagraph (2)(A) provides the basic jurisdictional grant and dictates where an in rem action can be filed, and subparagraph 2(C)(ii) exists simply "to facilitate the continuation of litigation in one of the districts identified in subparagraph (2)(A)."

References Edit

  1. 15 U.S.C. §1125(d)(2)(A).

Source Edit

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