Dubai man files lawsuit to recover domain.
A man who says he paid $360,000 to buy the domain 81.com alleges it has been stolen.
Sami Debizet filed an in rem lawsuit (pdf) against the domain in U.S. District Court in Virginia in an effort to recover the domain.
According to Debizet, he paid $360,000 to acquire the domain on May 7, 2013.
Two number .com domains are extremely rare and sales are infrequent, but this domain is probably worth a lot more than $360,000 today. NameBio shows just three two-number sales since 2014 and they are all for over $1.7 million. 2013 was before the big Chinese surge in short-domain investing.
One thing that’s troubling about the case is that it appears this domain has been out of the Plaintiff’s control for many years, and perhaps only in his control for a very brief period. Historical Whois records at DomainTools show the following timeline:
May 9, 2013: Japanese owner, domain at Melbourne IT
July 11, 2013: Domains By Proxy, domain at GoDaddy
September 13, 2013: Chinese owner, domain at eName
The Whois records show various Chinese owners since 2013.
Debizet’s declaration might shed more light on this, but it has not been add to the court system yet.
If anything, it seems like it will be difficult to argue common law trademark rights in a domain that was only in the owner’s control for a brief period of time six years ago.
Greenberg & Lieberman is representing the Plaintiff.