One partner in a business alleges another partner is holding a domain name hostage.
Business partnerships have a bad habit of ending badly. When they do, control over key domain names can become an issue.
Here’s a example.
A partnership over the site FishbowlPrizes.com is apparently deteriorating.
One of the partners, Shopify app developer Bold Commerce, wants out.
The domain name for the partnership was originally registered in Bold’s name, not the partnership’s name. Bold has been slow to transfer the domain name to an account allegedly owned by the partnership, as demanded by another partner, Dean Zelinsky.
Zelinsky believes Bold is holding the domain name hostage in an attempt to get him to buy out its share of the company.
So Zelinksy sued (pdf).
Correspondence between the parties suggests that Bold is concerned that Zelinsky will run the company into the ground and hasn’t thought through the ramifications of transferring the domain name.
It’s impossible to understand the entire dynamic based based on the communications filed with the court.
But this case should serve as a warning: if you’re in a partnership, make sure the intellectual property is securely in control of the partnership, not just one of the partners.