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Wright v. Domain Source

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Citation Edit

Wright v. Domain Source, Inc., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16024 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 28, 2002).

Factual Background Edit

Plaintiff Paul Wright, a lawyer, registered the domain name "" in 1999 and used it for a commercial website until his registration lapsed in 2001 due to circumstances beyond his control. Defendant, a company that registered and sold domain names, registered the domain name after it lapsed. In response to plaintiff's request to buy back the name for the registration fee, defendant offered to sell it to him for $1,855.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

Plaintiff brought suit alleging violations of the ACPA and state claims, and moved for a final judgment by default against defendant, which had never answered the complaint. The court held that defendant had violated Section 1129(1)(A) of the ACPA, which creates liability for registering domain names consisting of people's names without their consent and with the intent to sell that domain name. Plaintiff submitted evidence that defendant was engaged in the business of buying and selling domain names for profit, including many personal names and well-known commercial names.

The court dismissed plaintiff's claim under a California law that prohibits the bad-faith registration of a person's name as a domain name[1] because that law does not provide a private right of action. The court ordered defendant to transfer the domain name to plaintiff if it still owned the name.

Plaintiff advised the court that he believed that defendant had already transferred the name to a third party, but the court refused to issue an unqualified order to transfer or to cancel the domain name because it could "trespass on the rights of [a] third party" if defendant no longer owned it.

Finally, the court rejected plaintiff's request for attorney's fees simply because defendant defaulted. According to the court, the penalty for defaulting was a default judgment, not attorney's fees.

References Edit

  1. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17526.

Source Edit

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