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.
George Kirikos says
If ICANN hasn’t yet evaluated the .paris application, then that’s $185,000 sitting in ICANN’s coffers (US jurisdiction) that parvi.org’s owners might go after), instead of waiting for the new TLD itself to be awarded.
The question which needs to be answered is simple: what will be the websurfer first thought regarding the content when seeing a domain name containing the word Paris at different position? .paris? paris.com? paris.org? paris..?
In the majority of cases, that is not only american or french, people will think of the French city for .paris . The further away from the tld the word Paris will be, the less official it will seem, and the less people will associate the site with the french city.
Another more fundamental question is: does a domain name necessarily carry the meaning of the site it is bound to? On that question, there must be some precedent providing a jugement in the US court, but does this mean that it should be accepted by foreign institution?
The previous article also raises the point that since Paris accepted the US proceeding in previous cases, it automatically grants juridiction to the same courts in future similar cases. Was any US court really potent in ruling in the first places? And even then, what would be the exact definition of similar cases?
One should start by answering these questions before proceeding further imho.
John Berryhill says
“Was any US court really potent in ruling in the first places?”
In relation to this case, there is no question that the City of Paris agreed to the UDRP Mutual Jurisdiction requirement, and selected the jurisdiction of the registrar (located in Bryan, Texas), as the UDRP Mutual Jurisdiction.
In relation to “similar” cases, I guess it would depend on what one means by “similar”. They have agreed to US jurisdiction in a number of UDRP disputes – wifiparis.com, wifi-paris.com, paris.tv – so it would seem that they have established a regular course of dealings whereby they do voluntarily submit to US jurisdiction in the context of domain names registered via US registrars to US entities.
This is a MASSIVE ruling.. It finally gives teeth to “reverse domain hijacking” Could a former respondent sue an ill-intentioned complainant based on this ruling?! Is the precedent set in the ruling retroactive? If so you could see every victim of UDRP-Lottery cases which resulted in RDNH sue their complainants. :- ) This is an incredible ruling that will live in INFAMY. Finally the UDRP sword cuts both ways.
John Berryhill says
“then that’s $185,000 sitting in ICANN’s coffers”
Remarkably, the refund value of the application is nearly identical to the amount of the judgment.
John Berryhill says
“but does this mean that it should be accepted by foreign institution?”
I’m hard-pressed to understand the question. This is a judgment in a proceeding that was initiated by the City of Paris.
They filed the UDRP. They agreed to the rules. They submitted to the Mutual Jurisdiction.
“The UDRP” does not end at a panel decision. Paragraph 4(k) of the UDRP governs the conduct of further judicial proceedings under the UDRP Mutual Jurisdiction requirement.
Are you suggesting they would not honor the result of a proceeding which they themselves initiated?
If they do not, then such behavior would speak volumes about their fitness to operate a TLD.
James Toolan says
This is amazing, you also have to read this story.. it’s a court case hijacking against 1and1.com, Domcollect.com and United Internet AG in Germany.. Default judgment also was issued for claimant too! its going on everywhere and they just dont have a leg to stand on when they are asked to defend! they just cant defend criminal actions when are proven to be guilty of hijacking domains lol.. the guy is also posting up the original ‘gagging order’ that he received from domcollect to keep his mouth shut over it.. should be an amazing read! just waiting for the upload 😀 ! http://www.acorndomains.co.uk/domain-name-scams/107083-domcollect-sued-along-1-1-hijacking-domains-my-update.html
If the Respondent was an American city, the result would have been for the city. As QuipKid says, it is the “Injustice System”.
Asleep at the wheel entities should not be awarded domains under any circumstances, except fraudulent use or misrepresentation harming their business. IP owners have a positive duty to protect their IP. Suppose I am Carl Wilson and put together a blog, CWPost.com; should a cereal maker with a similar named cereal get to steal my blog space? No. Anyone who goes there and sees the blog will know it is a cerebral company not a cereal company. Hint: American companies are rarely cerebral…
The correct answer is lost of all IP rights for the lazy entity for failing to aggressively protect, i.e., register .com’s when the product is introduced. After all, who in business hasn’t heard of the Internet?
Andrew Allemann says
“If the Respondent was an American city, the result would have been for the city.”
If they didn’t bother to show up after agreeing to jurisdiction? I think the result would have been the same.
Had Paris not bailed they may not have had such a large award against them, but I think the decision for the owner of the domain to keep it would have been the same.
James Henry says
The discussions of this “ruling” and “precedent” are misguided. When a defendant defaults, it admits all allegations contained in the Complaint. Therefore, no “ruling” or “precedent” occurred. It was a simple default judgment entered pursuant to the rules.
Just caught united ag 1&1 and sedo doing the same with 50+ domains belonging to me. I just confronted them on it, they are dancing around it so far, im a dual us\eu citizen Wow unbeliviable I found this!!!!