Another party shows up to continue lawsuit over allegedly stolen domains.
What was supposed to be a simple in rem stolen domain name case got a lot messier in April. Now it is a clusterf*ck.
Yoshiki Okada filed a lawsuit late last year to recover domain names he said were stolen from his possession, including eol.com, fde.com, jol.com, nnn.com, olp.com, tang.com, wok.com, wtv.com, and zhang.com.
At first, no one showed up to defend the domain names. Still, the judge was wary of handing the domains over. She questioned how the plaintiffs had trademark rights to a domain like Tang.com.
Okada’s attorneys tried to convince the judge. Meanwhile, a company showed up in April to defend OLP.com, saying it recently acquired the domain name.
At this point, the case reached ‘messy’ status on the DNW-lawsuit-messiness scale.
The scale goes even higher, and this case has officially reached clusterf*ck level.
A third party has shown up at the court claiming that he was financing the lawsuit in an effort to buy the domain NNN.com.
Mark Thompson says (pdf) he agreed with Okada that he would finance the litigation to recover the domains and, if successful, Okada will sell NNN.com to him for $335,000.
But, according to Thompson, Okada hasn’t been very responsive. Okada’s attorneys at ESQwire.com withdrew as counsel. If you read between the lines, it sounds like they weren’t able to get Okada to respond in a timely manner:
A dispute has arisen between counsel and the Plaintiff such that counsel can no longer, consistent with his ethical obligations, continue to represent the Plaintiff. Counsel is prohibited
from disclosing the nature of the dispute as all communications with the client are protected by the attorney-client privilege. A key element of the attorney-client relationship is regular
communication and interactions regarding the matter at hand including discussions of strategy and substance. In particular, counsel can only act upon the direct instructions of the client and, in the absence of such direct instructions, is barred from taking any action. Based on this standard, and without divulging client confidences, counsel represents to the Court that he can no longer continue to represent the Plaintiff in this matter.
Thompson wants to move forward with the case and is trying to intervene based on his interest in NNN.com.