Featured Domains

TrueName by donuts. Make a name for yourself

Judge reiterates demand that Canvas.com stop using its domain…tomorrow!

Canvas will have to switch domain names by tomorrow.

Picture of a male judge with a white wig swinging a baseball bat
Not the actual judge.

Perhaps you can forgive United States District Judge Dale A. Kimball for not understanding what goes into changing a web platform’s domain name. But the engineers at Canvas’ headquarters probably won’t.

Today, Kimball denied (pdf) a request by Canvas to stay an injunction he approved against the company. The denial means that Canvas has to rebrand its company and change domain names by 15 days after he made the injunction — tomorrow.

Kimball thinks it’s no big deal. If it ends up winning the case, it will just be a “temporary rebrand.”

He notes that Canvas already rebranded last year from Jumpstart and changed its domain from Jumpstart.me to Canvas.com. Sure, it took six months, but how hard can it be just to flip the switch back?

In addition, Canvas Tech has rebranded before – when it changed from Jumpstart to Canvas. Although that initial rebrand took six months, it is unlikely to take Canvas Tech that
long again. Canvas Tech’s mission and services this time will, presumedly, stay the same. All that must change is the branding itself. Since Canvas Tech still owns and retains the website and infrastructure for Jumpstart, the court is unconvinced that Canvas Tech will need much time at all to temporarily rebrand.

Second, the court believes that Canvas Tech’s claimed harm to its customers is exaggerated. Presently, Canvas Tech’s www.jumpstart.me domain is used by Canvas Tech to
automatically redirect users to www.canvas.com. To comply with the preliminary injunction, Canvas Tech could use the www.jumpstart.me domain again, without redirecting the users.
Canvas Tech can also announce the new rebrand through a post on its platform.

Let’s look at that last sentence again: Canvas Tech can also announce the new rebrand through a post on its platform.

Oh, you mean the platform hosted at Canvas.com?

Hopefully, the judge won’t split hairs over using Canvas.com. At a minimum, the business needs to be able to redirect it to another domain and forward emails destined for the @canvas.com email addresses. Otherwise, its business will be irreparably harmed (if you believe that changing domains tomorrow won’t irreparably harm the company.)

I’m not a judge or a lawyer. Perhaps Instructure, the company that filed the dispute, has a good case. It seemed marginal to me, but maybe the evidence will show otherwise. Still, it baffles me that a judge would unilaterally force a company to stop using its domain within 15 days in these circumstances. When we look at UDPR, we complain that the panelists can only choose to approve or deny a transfer. There’s nothing in between, like requiring a domain owner to put a note on a page that says the companies are not affiliated as a stopgap during a dispute like this.

Dynadot Expired Auctions. Now offering installment payments. View auctions.

Get Our Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest analysis and news about the domain name industry by joining our mailing list.

No spam, unsubscribe anytime.

Reader Interactions


    Leave a Comment

  1. J.R. says

    If Canvas*com wins on appeal, who reimburses the company for $$$ lost in the interim? Can Canvas*com add in all the potential lost revenue from the forced rebrand plus attorneys fees?

    Judge Kimball is 83, and may not understand the intricacies of online business or possibly never ran a business before joining the bench. Over 1/2 the State have a retirement age for State Judges, even Utah is age 75.

    Unfortunately, for Canvas*com, he is a federal judge.

    Good luck on appeal, but what a mess.

    • Andrew Allemann says

      That’s one of the odd things to me. I’d think the case would work itself out, and then if Canvas owed damages it would be forced to pay them. Instructure was only required to put up a $100k bond.

      • J.R. says

        Odd indeed.

        Staying the injunction’ was a fair middle ground. The assumptions made by Judge Kimball about the ‘ease’ of a rebrand make no sense to me.

        The denial of a stay was unjustified.

  2. David Michaels says

    Canvas Technologies made a fatal mistake by not challenging personal jurisdiction in Utah in a 12b(2) motion to dismiss.

    It’s a California corporation with offices in Santa Monica and the law is more favorable to domain name owners in the 9th circuit.

    • J.R. says

      A costly mistake Canvas Tech is regretting.

      Also, California has judges that deal with Silicon Valley tech legalities on a much larger scale than Utah.

      The denial of a stay seems less likely in a State interfacing with big tech cases daily understanding the costs associated with a brand change.

    • John Berryhill says

      They advertise and conduct business in Utah. I can’t imagine that a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction would be successful. It seems obvious that the defendant’s business does not somehow avoid Utah.

      For example if you search the word Utah on their site, using :

      Utah site:canvas.com

      in Google, it’s pretty obvious that Canvas.com works with employers in Utah and advertises jobs located in Utah. So, obviously, they are advertising their services in Utah.

  3. Richard Lyon says

    I have no idea about the strength of plaintiff’s case, but to get an preliminary injunction the judge must find a likelihood of ultimate success on the merits. Did Canvas appeal the grant of preliminary injunction? If so, what happened? I do agree that the $100,000 bond is grossly inadequate

Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News
%d bloggers like this: