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Lawsuit alleges dealings in stolen domain name

A South Florida businessman has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in New York against Register.com, Afternic.com and Network Solutions Inc., for alleged fraud, misrepresentation and dealing in stolen domains.14 May 2001

In the suit, Rick Schwartz, claims he purchased the domain properties.com at auction on Afternic.com on 27th February. Utilising the escrow facilities offered by DNEscrow (an affiliate of Afternic.com), he maintains he paid $61,188 for the domain.

He alleges in the suit that three weeks after the domain was transferred to him, and without any notice to him, the domain was transferred back to its original owner by Network Solutions. Although he tried contacting Network Solutions, Register.com (the registrar of the domain and owner of Afternic.com) and DNEscrow, he was unable to get a legitimate response from anyone, the suit states.

He is suing Register.com for allowing the domain to be transferred out of Schwartz' name without any authority or notification. Afternic.com has been sued for allowing stolen domains to be auctioned off to innocent bidders and receiving a commission on the sale; for falsely advertising that they are the only “safe” way of purchasing domains on the web; and then refusing to return the domain or the money when it is determined that the domain that was auctioned was not owned by the lister.

Schwartz said:

"One or more of the parties is not being truthful, and the Federal Court system is the best way to get to the bottom of the matter. There is no question that this is a valuable internet property... If this domain was in fact stolen, then someone should be held accountable. The authorities should prosecute the offender and send a message that stealing internet property will land you in jail. If the domain is not stolen, then it rightfully belongs to me, and I want it transferred back."