With uncertainty over who owns the domain, a plaintiff is trying a different approach to get the domain.
A Wisconsin man has filed an in rem cybersquatting lawsuit (pdf) against the domain name iVote.com.
Mark Rice has several registered trademarks for iVote and runs some political websites such as iPresident.com and iRepresentatives.
Rice, a pro se litigant, sued (pdf) Poli-Tech solutions LLC and iVote.com in October last year in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin. From the record, it appears that Poli-Tech created a “stop the steal” site on the domain name.
But Poli-Tech said it had just been lent the domain for a short project and referred to another company it said owned the domain. A person purporting to be at that other company reached out to Rice and offered to sell the domain for an absurdly low $2,000. Rice declined.
The judge in the Wisconsin case denied Rice’s motion for default judgment, telling him he needed to request a definitive amount of damages and provide an affidavit for how Poli-Tech acted in bad faith when it used the domain. Rice has filed an amended motion for default judgment that includes an affidavit, but the only damages listed are how much it cost him to file the lawsuit and send a Priority Mail envelope to the defendant.
Now, before the judge renders judgment in the Wisconsin suite again, Rice filed an in rem lawsuit in Virginia courts where .com registry Verisign is located. He also filed this case pro se.
It’s still unclear who exactly owns the domain name. But they might need to raise their hand and show up in Virginia courts to defend the domain.