Court denies conversion claim because it says domain names are not property.
The Supreme Court of the State of New York has denied (pdf) a claim one of Michael Gleissner’s companies brought against Network Solutions.
Gleissner’s company NextEngine Ventures LLC said it bought the domain name Quentin.com for $9,990 in March 2016. It subsequently transferred the domain name to GoDaddy.
After the transfer Network Solutions pulled the domain name back to the account of the previous owner, a woman in Argentina, ostensibly because she claimed the domain name was stolen from her Network Solutions account before being sold. DomainTools historical Whois records show a change in admin email address before the domain was transferred to NextEngine.
NextEngine wanted Network Solutions to pay the $9,990 purchase price plus $28,000, which it says was the appraised value at the time the domain was removed from its account at GoDaddy.
The court denied NextEngine’s claim on the grounds of jurisdiction. It also said that, even if it had jurisdiction, it would have denied the claim. It noted that courts in New York (and Virginia, where the .com registry is located) do not recognize domains as property, so it follows that they can’t be subject to conversion.
(Hat tip: John Berryhill.)