City of Paris ordered to pay $100k for reverse domain name hijacking
Monday, September 17th, 2012
Paris guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, ordered to pay over $100,000.
A U.S. federal district court has ordered Ville de Paris (City of Paris) to pay $100,000 for reverse domain name hijacking and tortious interference.
Judge Melinda Harmon also ordered the city to pay $26,830 in attorney’s fees and costs.
The judgment stems from a UDRP the city of Paris filed against the owner of Parvi.org in 2009. In that case, panelist Andrew Christie decided to give the domain name to Paris despite determining that the domain name was not originally registered in bad faith.
The domain owner sued to stop the transfer. His lawsuit asked for a determination that he wasn’t cybersquatting and that Paris was attempting reverse domain name hijacking.
When Paris filed the UDRP with World Intellectual Property Organization it agreed to court jurisdiction in the location of the domain registrar, which was Texas. Yet, despite agreeing to this jurisdiction, the city decided not to show up to fight the charges. (This isn’t the first time Paris has run away from U.S. jurisdiction after picking a fight.)
The judge entered a default judgment against Ville de Paris. She issued the final judgment with damages on Friday.
This is the second Texas court I’m aware of that has awarded six figure damages for reverse domain name hijacking.
Will Parvi.org’s owner ever collect the judgment? It won’t be easy. But keep in mind that the defendant here is applying for the .paris top level domain name. It won’t be disqualified from getting the TLD just because it’s guilty of reverse domain name hijacking (the guidebook allows three such rulings before you’re disqualified). But it’s possible .paris will be an asset in the United States, which might give Parvi.org’s owner something to go after.
The plaintiff’s attorneys in the case were Travis Crabtree, Paul Keating, and John Berryhill.