Our firm recently filed a class action lawsuit. You can read about the class action on CNBC here and in the ABA Journal article Shill Bids for Domain Names Made by Auction Company Exec, Suit Alleges. You can also find the story on PCWorld in the article Domain Auction Site Face Shill Bidding Lawsuit and in the National Law Journal in this article.
The class action is the first nationwide to allege that a domain name provider used a shill bidder to manipulate auctions. So it turns out, that we are not the masters of our own domains after all because in many instances the bids were tampered with. In the articles, I was quoted as saying the following:
The domain name industry is the wild west of intellectual property because it remains unregulated. The online community has been up in arms over what they feel has been an opaque system that just begs for transparency. It is impossible to know whether you are bidding against someone that isn’t working or affiliated with the company conducting the auction.
Domain names are the last frontier for the average person to stake their claim on some very valuable property. The Defendants’ conduct has made it harder for people to do so and we intend to put a stop to this practice, which we perceive as being a major concern in the industry.
So what’s the international angle to all this? I’ve got tons of ideas floating around my head and will let you know in future posts as this case heats up. One of the topics I have in mind is an offshoot of the post I wrote earlier Online Litigation and Foreign Jurisdiction. Stay tuned.