National Collegiate Athletic Ass'n v. BBF Int'l, Civ. A. No. 1:01CV00422 (E.D. Va. Mar. 16, 2001) (motion for temporary restraining order), 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11774 (E.D. Va. May 4, 2001) (motion for discovery sanctions and default judgment).
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
Plaintiff, owner of the trademarks NCAA and MARCH MADNESS, obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order enjoining defendant from operating any websites using the domain names "ncaa-march-madness.com" and "ncaabettinglines.com."
The court had personal jurisdiction over defendant, a Haitian-based online gambling company, because defendant transacted business in Virginia by making its interactive gambling sites available to Internet users there and by soliciting the business of Virginia residents, including wagering on games by universities located in Virginia that were competing in the 2001 March Madness collegiate basketball tournament. Defendant also entered into online contracts with Virginia users.
Regarding the merits, plaintiffs established that defendant's use of these two domain names constituted cybersquatting under the ACPA, trademark infringement, and dilution. Ex parte relief was appropriate because defendant could remove all assets from this jurisdiction, "[an act that] would deny this court the ability to afford effective relief." Accordingly, in addition to enjoining defendant's use of the domain names, the court ordered defendant to "not transfer any of its assets from the United States . . . ."
The court later granted plaintiff's motion for discovery sanctions against defendant, entering default judgment against defendant. The court noted defendant's failure to respond to plaintiff's discovery requests and found that defendant had no intention of answering discovery requests despite the court's order expediting discovery. The only response received from defendant was an attempt to negotiate the release of defendant's funds that had been frozen in the United States according to the court's earlier orders.
The court permanently enjoined defendant from using the "ncaa-march-madness.com" and "ncaabettinglines.com" domain names, registering any other domain names incorporating any of the NCAA or MARCH MADNESS marks or any "identical or similar" marks, and using plaintiff's marks on websites or metatags for sites owned or operated by or affiliated with defendant.
The court transferred the two domain names to plaintiff, awarded attorneys' fees to plaintiff, and awarded plaintiff statutory damages of $20,000 ($10,000 per domain name). Finally, the court required several third parties, including PayPal, to pay any funds they owed to defendant into the Registry of the court for transfer to plaintiffs, up to the amount of judgment.
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