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Newport News Holdings Corp. v. Virtual City Vision, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
650 F.3d 423 (4th Cir. 2011)
Newport News Holding Corp. (plaintiff) was a women’s clothing and accessories company that held multiple trademarks for the mark “Newport News” including for the domain name “newport-news.com.” Newport News had attempted to also acquire the rights to the domain name “newportnews.com” but that name was owned by Virtual City Vision, Inc., (VCV) a corporation owned and operated by Van James Bond Tran (defendants). Tran was the president and sole employee of VCV, which owned a number of domain names that incorporated the names of geographical locations and operated as websites providing local information for those places. Newport News eventually offered to buy the domain name from VCV, but VCV responded that it would only consider a “seven-figure” amount or in the alternative that it would sell Newport News’s products on the site for a commission. After this, the site shifted away from providing local information for the Newport News geographical area, in contrast to the company’s other location-based websites, and began primarily offering advertisements for other brands of women’s clothing. Newport News sued VCV and Tran under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). The district court found that VCV had acted in bad faith in violation of the ACPA and granted summary judgment to Newport News. VCV appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Duncan, J.)
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