Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Caesars World, Inc. v. Caesars-Palace.Com, et al.
112 F. Supp. 2d 502, Civil Action No.99-550-A (E.D.Va., March 3, 2000)
The court holds that the provisions of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (the "Act") that permit a trademark holder to proceed with an in rem action against a domain name do not violate the Due Process clause of the United States Constitution.
The Act permits a trademark holder to prosecute certain designated claims in an in rem action against domain names "in the judicial district in which the domain name register, domain name registry or other domain name authority that registered or assigned the domain name is located" if "the court finds that the owner either (1) is not able to obtain in personam jurisdiction over an allowed defendant, or (2) through due diligence was not able to find a person who would have been an allowed defendant after meeting certain notice requirements set out in the Act."
The court determined that, for the purpose of the Act, Congress mandated that a domain name is property located in the forum in which the domain name register that registered the domain in question is located. Because the domain name is the subject of the suit, held the court, the Due Process clause does not require that the defendant have minimum contacts with the forum state sufficient to permit the assertion of personal jurisdiction over the defendant before in rem jurisdiction can be asserted over his property. As no minimum contacts are required in such a setting, the statute passes muster under the Due Process Clause.
Moreover, even if such minimum contacts with the Virginia forum in which the suit is pending were required, they are supplied by the registration of the domain name with Virginia-based Network Solutions, Inc., given the limited nature of relief that can be granted under the statute in an in rem proceeding -- namely forfeiture, cancellation or transfer of the domain name.
Accordingly, the court denied defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint.