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Central Source LLC v. annuallcreditreport.com

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

April 18, 2018

CENTRAL SOURCE LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
annuallcreditreport.com and 101 Additional Internet Domain Names, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          IVAN D. DAVIS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This MATTER is before the Court on Central Source LLC's ("Plaintiff') Motion for Default Judgment against Defendants annuallcreditreport.com, annualacreditreport.com, annualalcreditreport.com, annualcredit20report.com, annualcreditcardreport.com, annualcreditcardreports.com, annualcreditcreport.com, annualcreditfreeprogramreport.com, annualcreditmonitoringreport.com, annualcreditoreport.com, annualcreditreportandscore.net, annualcreditreportcard.com, annuaIcreditreportcenter.com, annualcreditreportequifax.com, annualcreditreportgov.com, annualcreditreport-gov.com, annuaIcreditreporting.org, annualcreditreportonIine.com, annualcreditreportonline5.com, annualcreditreportreport.com, annualcreditreportrequestform.com, annualcreditreportreview.net, annualcreditreportusa.com, annualcreditreportz.com, annualcreditrereport.com, annualcreditretreport.com, annualcreditscorereport.com, annualecreditreport.com, annualfederalcreditreport.com, annualfreecreditreport.net, annualfreecreditreports.net, annualfreeecreditreport.com, annualgreecreditreport.com, annuallcreditreports.com, annualreportcredit.com, annualtcreditreport.com, annualycreditreport.com, comannualcreditreport.com, contactannualcreditreport.com, creditannualreport.com, creditannualreport.net, creditannualreport.org, creditannualreports.net, creditannualreports.org, creditreportannual.com, experianfreeannualcreditreport.com, floridaannualfreecreditreport.com, freeannualcredirreport.org, freeannualcreditmonitoringreport.com, freeannualcreditreoprt.com, freeannualcreditrepor.com, free-annual-creditreport.com, free-annual-credit-report.com, free-annual-credit-report.org, freeannualcreditreportgovernment.com, freeannualcreditreport-government.com, freeannualcreditreportgovernment.net, freeannualcreditreportinfo.com, freeannual-credit-report-now.com, freeannualcreditreportonline.net, free-annual-credit-reports.com, freeannualcreditreports.org, free-annual-credit-report-score.com, freeannualcreditreportscore6.com, freeannualcreditreportsrlimited.com, freeannualcreditreporty.com, freeannualcreditscorereport.com, freeannualcredittreport.com, freeannualcrediyreport.com, freeannualcredotreport.com, freeannualcrefitreport.com, freeannualreportcreditreport.com, freeannualscreditreport.org, freeannualycreditreport.com, freecreditreportannual.com, freegovernmentannualcreditreport.com, freemyannualcreditreport.com, gannualcreditreport.com, get-free-annual-credit-report.com, httpsannualcreditreport.com, lannualcreditreport.com, my-annualcreditreport.com, myannualcreditreport.org, myannualfreecreditreport.com, myannualfreecreditreport.net, myannuallycreditreport.com, nannualcreditreport.com, oneannualcreditreport.com, tannualcreditreport.com, theannualcreditreport.com, tripleannualcreditreport.com, uannualcreditreport.com, wwannualcreditreport.com, wwwannuallycreditreport.com, wwwfreeannualcreditreport.com, wwwlannualcreditreport.com, annualcreditireport.com, annualcreditrep9ort.com, annualrcreditreport.com, blogfreeannualcreditreports.org, visitannualcreditreport.com, annualfreecreditreports.com (collectively, the "Defendant Domain Names") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2). (Dkt. No. 22.)

         After no licensed attorney for the Defendant Domain Names appeared at the hearing on March 9, 2018, the undersigned Magistrate Judge took this matter under advisement to issue this Report and Recommendation. Upon consideration of the Complaint, Plaintiffs Motion for Default Judgment, and the supporting memoranda, the undersigned Magistrate Judge makes the following findings and recommends that Plaintiffs Motion be GRANTED.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed its Complaint on May 22, 2017, seeking relief under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) ("ACPA") and the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)(a). (Compl. ¶ 1.) Plaintiff requests that the Court dismiss the trademark infringement count under the Lanham Act without prejudice because the relief Plaintiff seeks can be granted under the ACPA. (Dkt. No. 23 at 15.)

         Plaintiffs ACPA claim is based on the bad-faith use of the Defendant Domain Names. (Compl. ¶¶ 163-65, 172.) The ACPA provides a remedy for "cybersquatting," which occurs when an individual registers or uses a trademark owner's mark as a domain name with the bad-faith intent to profit from the sale or use of the domain name.[1] Plaintiff moved for default judgment against the Defendant Domain Names and requests that this Court order the Defendant Domain Names be cancelled or transferred to Plaintiff. (See Dkt. No. 23 at 14-15; Compl. at 39-40.)

         A. Jurisdiction and Venue

         To render default judgment against the Defendant Domain Names, this Court must have both subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because this case arises under the ACPA, which is federal law.

         This Court has in rem jurisdiction over the Defendant Domain Names pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)(2)(A) because the registries wherein Defendant Domain Names are registered, VeriSign, Inc. and Public Interest Registry, are located within this District. (Compl. ¶ 132.) Similarly, venue is appropriate in this District under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2), as well as 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)(2)(C)(i), which states that "a domain name shall be deemed to have its situs in the judicial district in which ... the domain name registrar, registry, or other domain name authority that registered or assigned the domain name is located." (See also Compl. ¶ 134.)

         Moreover, joinder of the Defendant Domain Names is appropriate in this matter because the "Defendant Domain Names share common mail servers, resolve to websites hosted on the same network as evidenced by the identical first two sets of numbers in their respective Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) addresses, share common registration dates, and/or resolve to Internet web pages that appear identical." (Dkt. No. 23 at 6.)

         B. Service of Process

         The ACPA provides that service of process in an in rem action may be accomplished by sending notice of the alleged violation and intent to proceed under the ACPA to the registrant of the domain name at the postal and email addresses provided by the registrant to the registrar. 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)(2)(A), (B). The ACPA also allows a plaintiff to effect service through publishing notice of the action as directed by the court. Id.

         The undersigned finds that Plaintiff complied with the notice requirements necessary to bring an in rem action against the Defendant Domain Names under the ACPA. In accordance with 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)(2)(A)(ii)(II)(aa), Plaintiff sent notice of its intent to pursue an in rem action against the Defendant Domain Names' registrants to the postal and email addresses provided in the domain name registration record for the Defendant Domain Names. (Dkt. No. 7-2; Dkt. No. 23 at 7.)

         On October 4, 2017, in accordance with 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)(2)(A)(ii)(II)(bb), Plaintiff filed a Motion for Service by Publication seeking leave to publish notice of the action in The Washington Post or The Washington Times. (Dkt. No. 6.) On October 11, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiffs Motion. (Dkt. No. 10.) On October 19, 2017, Plaintiff published notice of this lawsuit in The Washington Post. (Dkt. No. 11.) ...


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