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Shri Ram Chandra Mission v. Sahajmarg.org

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Citation Edit

Shri Ram Chandra Mission v. Sahajmarg.org, 139 F.Supp.2d 721 (E.D. Va. 2001) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

An Indian entity registered the domain name "sahajmarg.org." Plaintiff brought an in personam action against the registrant under the ACPA, but the court dismissed it for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

Plaintiff then filed this in rem proceeding against the domain name. At issue was whether the ACPA required a plaintiff, who already sent notice of the suit to the registant by post and e-mail, also to publish notice of the action.

It appears that the court raised this issue on its own. The court initially acknowledged its decision in Banco Inverlat v. www.invernat.com, where it held that publication was not mandatory, but rather discretionary. It noted, however, that Banco Inverlat was distinguishable from the facts of this case because the registrant had actual notice of the suit in that case.

The court also noted its decision in Harrods v. Sixty Internet Domain Names, where it waived the publication requirement. Disagreeing with these rulings, the court found that the "unambiguous and clear" language of the ACPA required notice by publication. According to the court, the ACPA merely provided discretion to the courts over the manner in which notice is published. The inclusion of the word "and" between paragraphs (aa) and (bb) of Section 1125(d)(2)(a)(ii)(II) made the publication requirement of paragraph (bb) mandatory.

Additionally, the term "may" directly preceded by "as" in paragraph (bb) modified the verb "publishing" to mean "in the manner directed by the court." "Had Congress intended to make publication permissive and not mandatory, it would have done so." Therefore, a plaintiff in an in rem action must send a notice by postal mail and e-mail and must publish notice of the action as the court may direct promptly after filing the action.

In this case, the court ordered plaintiff to publish notice of the lawsuit in "India Abroad, Indian Abroad Online, and the Washington Post — each at least once in the next two weeks."

Source Edit

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