A Federal Court ruled that an in rem action under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) cannot be brought in Washington D.C. based off of ICANN having an office in DC since ICANN is not a “domain name authority” as contemplated by ACPA’s in rem jurisdiction provisions.
The plaintiff bought suit in the DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, claiming that the court had jurisdiction because ICANN maintains an office in Washington, D.C., and is a “domain name authority” as contemplated by ACPA’s in rem jurisdiction provisions.
On May 5, 2011, the plaintiff Marius Vizer brought an in rem action under the Anti- Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) (“ACPA”), seeking transfer of the domain name “VIZERNEWS.COM”. In August 2007, the domain name VIZERNEWS.COM, which contains the plaintiff’s last name, was registered without the plaintiff’s consent.
The plaintiff has not been able to identify the person or entity responsible for registering VIZERNEWS.COM.
The Court found that it does not have jurisdiction based on ICANN’s location in this judicial district because ICANN did not “register” or “assign” the challenged domain name as required by 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)(2)(A) and therefore is not a “domain name authority” as contemplated by ACPA’s in rem jurisdiction provisions.
The court found that jurisdiction would lie where the domain name registrar or the domain name registry, had offices.
Since a ton of cases have been brought in Virgina where Verisign the registry of .com and .net has offices it seems like a huge waste of money to bring the in rem case anywhere else, other than the registrar’s jurisdiction.
The case is VIZER Vs. VIZERNEWS.COM, Civil Action No. 11-00864