Friday, June 12, 2009

Traverse Internet Law Federal Court Report: May 2009 Domain Name Dispute Lawsuits

The facts are unproven allegations of the Plaintiff and all commentary is based upon the allegations, the truthfulness and accuracy of which are likely in dispute.

FILED: 05/21/2009

Basically this lawsuit is against the Defendant because he appears to have used his own name in publishing his music and registering under his own name on websites. Can an artist with a very common name prevent everyone else in the world with that name from publicly practicing their craft without using an alias? Doubtful. The lesson to be learned in this case is that when you are conducting commerce on the web you need to understand the landscape before you start using a business name, or in this case even your personal name. Ultimately the Defendant may prevail, but the cost of litigation is huge.

Plaintiff Adam Schmitt has recorded and sold music composed and sung or played by himself and others since 1990 as a solo artist, singer, song writer, and musician. Defendant Adam Schmitt has within the past year begun to record and post his music on the Internet. The Plaintiff claims a common law trademark in the name “Adam Schmitt”.

The lawsuit alleges common law trademark infringement, dilution of a famous mark, “damage to Plaintiff’s reputation”, and cybersquatting. Plaintiff has requested injunctive relief, the disgorgement of profits after the presentation of an accounting by the Defendant, and an award of statutory damages of $100,000.00 for each domain name controlled by the Defendant. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1321.

FILED: 05/12/2009

This is an “in rem” action against the domain names and these types of lawsuits typically can only be filed in the location of the registrar or registry of the domain names. If the individuals appear in this case they will likely be added as individual Defendants and sued for money. Consequently, the likelihood of the individuals appearing is very low, which means that the issue of jurisdiction or venue will never be raised in this case unless the Judge decides to do it on his own.

The Plaintiff owns the exclusive right to use and sublicense the Agassi trademarks by virtue of an employment agreement with Andre Agassi in 1994. Andre Agassi is a renowned professional tennis player who captured eight Grand Slam titles, an Olympic Gold Medal, and a career Grand Slam, in his career. The Defendants are the domain names and this lawsuit alleges that the names were acquired in bad faith.

The only count in the lawsuit alleges cybersquatting and requests injunctive relief requiring the domain name registrar transfer the registrations of the Defendant domain names to the Plaintiff. This lawsuit was brought in the United States District Court in the district of Nevada. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1322.


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Adam said...

Fascinating...and the analysis is pretty much right. Apparently justice in our country has to be purchased at an hourly rate or with a huge retainer.