Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Elec. Funds & Data Corp. v. Zlobec
No. 99-26830 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Suffolk Cty., June 27, 2000)
Plaintiffs sued defendants for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that defendants misappropriated the domain name “jackdough.com.” Defendants, without citing any authority, moved for an order depositing the Registrar Certificate for the “jackdough.com” domain name with the court, and/or for an order directing plaintiffs to transfer the domain name to defendants. The court acknowledged that the ACPA did provide for in rem jurisdiction to assert control over a domain name in certain circumstances, but that defendants could not bring such an action because: (1) defendants failed to allege that either party owned a valid trademark; (2) the action was not filed in Virginia, the judicial district of the domain name registrar; (3) defendants failed to identify a party who had “a bad faith intent to profit from the mark;” and (4) the court had personal jurisdiction over all the parties. Furthermore, New York state law did not permit the court to exercise in rem jurisdiction over the domain name. Because the domain name “registration is not a property right but a right to a contractual performance by Network Solutions, Inc.” jurisdiction would be proper only in Virginia. In denying defendants’ motion to transfer ownership of the domain name, the court categorized that motion as a request for a preliminary injunction and noted that defendants failed even to address the merits of the case, let alone their likelihood of success.