Friday, February 26, 2010

9th Cir. decision re enforcement of judgment by levying on and auctioning off domain names

In Office Depot, Inc. v. Zuccarini, No. 07-16788 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2010), the Ninth Circuit held Office Depot’s money judgment against notorious cybersquatter could be enforced by levying upon and selling off his domain names.

VeriSign, the registry for all “.com” and .net” domain names, is located in the N.D. Cal. The 9th Circuit permitted an enforcement procedure comprising: (1) registering the judgment in the N.D. Cal.; and (2) moving for the appointment of a receiver, who would then (3) obtain the domain names from the VeriSign registry and sell them off at auction. In approving this procedure, the court held that domain names are “property” that can be levied upon under California law. The court further held that, for purposes of the quasi in rem jurisdiction that applied to such attachment proceedings, domain names are located wherever the registry or registrar is located.

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