Domainer with parked domain name ensnared in lawsuit.
Imagine you’re a domain investor, just going along and buying domain names and parking them like everyone else. You know you may get hit with a cease & desist every once in a while from an aggressive trademark lawyer. But that’s about it.
But then one day you find yourself named in a massive apparel counterfeiting ring.
That’s what happened to VL Raymer. Raymer owns the domain name Primp.com and has owned it since 1998, she says. In May this year, Industry Concept Holdings Inc. and Primp Inc filed a lawsuit against Raymer and at least 10 other parties on a number of charges related to counterfeiting Primp goods. According to the suit (originally filed under seal):
13. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that at all times relevant hereto defendant VL RAYMER is based at P.O. Box 1118 Gilroy, CA 95021 and has advertised, distributed, offered for sale, and sold merchandise wrongfully bearing counterfeits and infringements of Primp’s Primp Trademarks and Copyrighted Works on primp.com in this judicial district and the State of California.
A look at historical thumbnails for Primp.com shows nothing but parked pages.
Further perplexing Raymer was this statement in the original lawsuit:
Upon information and belief, Elgort, Lorber, Montoya, Payne, Garcia, Pacific Apparel, LLC, Saenz, Hautelook, Marquette Commercial Finance and VL Raymer (collectively “Defendantsâ€) are all related to each other.
Raymer says she has no idea who these people and companies are.
It gets more interesting. The original suit states:
Primp’s Primp trademark was distinctive at the time the infringing domain names itsprimp.com and primp.com were registered, and was, and is protected by the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. Â§ 1125.
But Raymer says she was the original 1998 registrant of Primp.com, which is five years before the “first use in commerce” of the Primp trademark in 2003. In the Memorandum of Points and Authorities, it states that Raymer registered Primp.com “to facilitate the counterfeiting of the Primp clothing”, which is also curious if she registered the domain many years before Primp was around.
The plaintiffs have since filed an amended complaint. It appears to keep Raymer in the defendant list, not mention her location and charge upfront, but mention her again in the ACPA claim.
A case of mistakenly being added to a counterfeiting ring?