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03|02|2010 12:00 am EDT

John Zuccarini vs Office Depot, Collecting On An Old Judgment

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

John Zuccarini is back in the news fighting against the collection of a judgment by DS Holdings . DSH has been assigned a judgment by Office Depot from 2000 and is seeking to collect by seizing domain names.  Zuccarini was found guilty of cybersquatting on Office Depot’s trademark with the domain officdepot.com.  In the discovery process DSH has found that Zucarrini owns 248 domains and is seeking to levy these domains and sell them at auction to collect on the judgment.

In 2007, the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Zuccarini’s domain names constituted personal property located in California—the site of the domain name registry—and were subject to seizure to satisfy the judgment against Zuccarini.  DSH moved to have a receivership assist in executing the judgment in the Northern District of California.

The Court’s most recent decision clarifies that domains, as intangible property, are located in the Northern District based on the location of Verisign, the registry for the .com domain names. They stated in the decision “we conclude under California law that domain names are located where the registry is located for the purpose of asserting quasi in rem jurisdiction. Although the question is not directly before us, we add that we see no reason why for that purpose domain names are not also located where the relevant registrar is located.”

In case you are new to this whole “domain name thing”,  John Zuccarini was arrested and jailed in 2003 for violating the Truth in Domain Names Act.  Zuccarini had thousands of domain names which were typos of major brands, many of these led the user to adult websites and “mousetrapped” the user into viewing hundreds of sites.  The law makes it a federal crime for “whoever knowingly uses a misleading domain name on the Internet with the intent to deceive a person into viewing material constituting obscenity” and “whoever knowingly uses a misleading domain name on the Internet with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material that is harmful to minors on the Internet”.  Zuccarini was released in 2005.

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March 2, 2010 @ 12:48 am EDT

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