Judge rules that case over valuable domain name should be moved from Virginia to Arizona.
A bit of gamesmanship in a battle for TRX.com has failed.
In November 2022, Fitness Anywhere LLC won a UDRP against the domain name in a controversial decision. The owner of the domain, who did not respond in that dispute, subsequently sued Fitness Anywhere for reverse domain name hijacking. He filed the suit in Arizona, where the registrar for the domain is based.
In February, TRX, which describes Fitness Anywhere as its predecessor in interest, filed an in rem lawsuit in Virginia, where the .com registry is based.
It seemed odd to me that TRX argued it needed to file an in rem case because it was having trouble getting in touch with the domain owner, since the domain owner had sued its predecessor in interest.
The judge caught on to this and ordered the Virginia case to be moved to Arizona. She noted that the facts were similar to a January 2023 appeals court decision over jurisdiction in a dispute over pru.com. She wrote:
Pursuant to that decision, if a mark owner is able to obtain in personam jurisdiction over the individual registrant of an infnnging domain name in any district within the U.S. at the time a complaint is filed, a mark owner may not proceed in rem against the infringing domain name.
Because the owner of TRX.com filed a lawsuit in Arizona before the in rem lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff in the instant case can’t file in rem in Virginia.