Preemptive case against New Jersey man can’t go forward in Washington, judge rules.
DomainTools’ preemptive lawsuit against Russ Smith has been dismissed (pdf) with prejudice for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue.
Russ Smith had threatened to sue DomainTools for copyright infringement and try to get its trademark canceled. Among Smith’s complaints: DomainTools’ archival of snapshots of his web site home pages were copyright violations.
Instead of waiting for Smith to file his suit, DomainTools filed a suit against him in its home state of Washington. The suit asked the court to rule that DomainTools wasn’t violating copyright, among other requests.
Smith asked the court to dismiss the case because he believed Washington was an improper venue.
The company provided a handful of reasons why it felt Washington was an appropriate place to file the lawsuit. One of the reasons was a forum selection clause in the terms of service on DomainTools web site. The company claimed Smith was subject to the terms when he submitted his threats via the web site’s contact form.
The company’s claims failed to impress judge Marsha Pechman. She dismissed the case with prejudice.