Online retailer files ‘first’ US lawsuit for domain theft

24-10-2014

US-based online retailer Acme Billing has filed what it has claimed is the “first federal lawsuit of its kind” for alleged domain name theft.

Court documents filed on October 21 at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia allege that an anonymous person in China acted in “bad faith” after they “knowingly and intentionally accessed Acme Billing’s domain name management ... without authorisation”.

In August, the online retailer found 35 domain names allegedly stolen by an anonymous person in China who hacked into its account and transferred the rights to the domains.

The online retailer was able to retrieve 21, but the remaining 14, including hie.com, aij.com and iiw.com, are still apparently being held by the user in China, who has so far not been identified. According to the domain registrar GoDaddy, the domains have since been put up for sale.

Greg Stranahan, director of Acme Billing, said: “Domain theft is a serious and growing form of IP theft with potentially devastating consequences for American businesses.

“E-commerce companies like Acme can suffer financial consequences from domain name theft because the theft disables the company’s e-commerce website and deprives the company of a significant asset,” he said.

Despite the retailer not being the first victim of domain theft, David Weslow, partner at Wiley Rein and representing the online retailer, claims it is the “first federal lawsuit of its kind”.

He said: “Acme is, unfortunately, the latest in a growing number of American business victims of domain name theft. We look forward to moving forward with the case and seeking the return of Acme’s domain names.”

Acme Billing; domain theft; GoDaddy; David Weslow

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