Clearly ignorant cybersquatter can now answer question “What’s the worst that can happen?”
There are two types of cybersquatters: big, systematic cybersquatters and small, just-don’t-know-any-better cybersquatters. Sometimes it’s the big guys that get hit with lawsuits, but a recent case shows even the small time cybersquatter can be hit hard.
That’s the case of Fawn and Terry Myers, who are named in a lawsuit alleging they registered about 20 domain names related to Hells Angels. Either Fawn or Terry subsequently listed the domain names on eBay with titles such as:
“Hells Angels Domain Name HA-MC.COM USA Europe RARE Dot”
“Hells Angels Domain Name ALL 81 LLLL.com 4L USA EUROPE”
Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation sued the Myers this month on 20 counts of cybersquatting at $100,000 each.
Many small time cybersquatters think a UDRP is the worst that can happen to them. This case shows that’s not true. I asked Hells Angels’ attorney Fritz Clapp today why the company chose to file a lawsuit rather than UDRP. He cited the delay in UDRPs as well as the attention this case will draw to other people that might cybersquat on Hells Angels’ brand.
Clapp first contacted Terry Myers through the eBay contact system. Myers allegedly wrote a terse response to Clapp before listing another related domain name on eBay. Clapp contacted eBay, which removed the auctions.
You’ll find the eBay listings somewhat humorous, so I’ve uploaded a copy here (pdf).
Among Myers claims in the eBay listings:
I b.s. you not, once this name is sold, it will NEVER be up for sale EVER again. Buy it now, it will go FAST. First off, I would like to say I have no HA affiliation and the purchase of multiple 4 letter (LLLL.com) and 5 letter (LLLLL.com) domain [sic] was quit [sic] by accident. I did not correlate the 81 with the Hells Angels identification at time of purchase. I have purchased 100’s of four letter .com domains prior to them running out before November 2007, and some after that went up after expiration. I was contacted by a person outside the United States interested in purchasing 81EU.com for a European web site. A brandable four or five letter dot com domain name now days goes for $3800 all the way to $1,000,000 +.
Huh, at $8,181.81, I’m shocked this domain name didn’t sell within minutes 🙂
GoDaddy was named as a defendant in the original lawsuit, but was dropped after cooperating. In at least one of the eBay auctions, Myers wrote “If auction is canceled on ebay, please go to domain site host (godaddy). It will be placed for auction there.”
Hat tip to Fresno Bee (link removed because no longer active)