Sunday, September 27, 2009

Domain Name Dispute in Great White North: "A Failure to Communicate"

In an entertaining domain name decision from the Nunavut Court of Justice dated September 10, 2009, the Honourable Mr. Justice E. Johnson, described a domain name dispute as similar to "Cool Hand Luke":

"Stout described the litigation by using a movie analogy. He called it a Runaway Train. I believe a better movie to describe it is Cool Hand Luke. In one scene, the strong-willed prisoner, played by Paul Newman, is lying in a ditch covered with dust and bruises after being recaptured from a prison escape. The warden, played by Strother Martin, looks down at him and says, “What we got here is a failure to communicate.”

The domain name dispute had actually already been resolved between the parties, as the registrant had already agreed to transfer the domain names, but the issue of legal fees remained.

According to the decision, in March 2000, the registrant paid for an online registration of the domain names “NunavutTourism.com”, “NunavutTourism.net”, and “NunavutTourism.org” in her name because the site would not accept her work email and the applicant did not have a credit card, even though she was registering the domain names on behalf of her employer, Nunavut Tourism. After the registrant ended her employment, she offered to transfer the domain names in exchange for her registration costs, but her former employer insisted upon her legal costs.

Various offers were exchanged, however the matter ended up in court after a "failure to communicate" as the Judge said, and the parties then argued about costs. The registrant ended up getting nearly $8,000 in costs because the Plaintiff apparently kept suing when all it needed to do was agree to accept back the domain name and pay nominal costs to the registrant. This is a lesson for overly aggressive and/or unreasonable claimaints.

No comments: