Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Davies v. Afilias Ltd.
293 F. Supp. 2d 1265 (M.D. Fla. 2003)
Defendant contracted with ICANN to operate the registry for the “.info” gTLD. The agreement created a “Sunrise Period” and a “Land Rush Period” to process the registration of domain names. During the “Sunrise Period,” trademark owners could register a domain name that is identical to their trademark. In addition, domain names could be challenged on the ground they had been registered improperly. After the “Sunrise Period” ended, the “Land Rush Period” allowed anyone to register a domain name. During the “Sunrise Period,” plaintiff challenged more than thirty domain names, including “hotel.info,” claiming that the names were registered by persons who did not own trademarks for the names. Because the registrant of the “hotel.info” name did not respond to the challenge, WIPO issued a default administrative order and transferred the domain name to plaintiff, even though plaintiff admitted to not owning rights to any of the challenged domain names. Plaintiff then registered “hotel.info” with DirectNIC. Defendant later determined that plaintiff did not own trademark rights to the domain names and “locked” the names to prevent plaintiff from using them. Plaintiff sued under the ACPA, and defendant moved for partial summary judgment on several claims including cybersquatting. The court rejected defendant’s argument that the reverse domain name hijacking portion of the ACPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1114(2)(D)(V), applies to suits brought by a registrant against a registry. Rather, the court held that the express language of the ACPA applies only to suits against overreaching trademark owners.