Parisi v. Netlearning, Inc.
United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
139 F.Supp.2d 745 (2001)
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) was enacted by Congress to govern arbitration proceedings. The FAA outlines specific guidelines for what constitutes arbitration, and only applies when administrative proceedings can be clearly classified as “arbitration.” The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) regulates the registration of internet domain names. In 1999, ICANN adopted the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) to govern the resolution of disputes over internet domain name registrations. ICANN requires that all domain name registrants incorporate the UDRP into their registration agreements. The UDRP requires mandatory administrative proceedings for the resolution of all disputes surrounding domain names registered with ICANN. Disputes must be submitted online to a UDRP panel that rules on the merits of the dispute. The only remedy available under the UDRP to a successful complainant is the transfer of the disputed domain name to the complainant or the cancelation of the domain name-holder’s registration with ICANN. In April 1966, Parisi (plaintiff) registered with ICANN and applied for a trademark for the domain name “netlearning.com” as part of his business known as Network Solutions, Inc. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denied Parisi’s trademark application on the ground that his requested domain name was too similar to another existing domain name. On June 1, 1997, Netlearning, Inc. (Netlearning) (defendant) began using the domain name “Net-Learning.com.” Parisi alleges that Netlearning offered to purchase his “netlearning.com” domain name for $22,500 in 2000, but that he refused to transfer his ICANN registration of the domain name to Netlearning. Netlearning instituted UDRP administrative proceedings challenging Parisi’s ICANN registration and use of the “netlearning.com” domain name. On October 16, 2000, a UDRP panel issued a decision in Netlearning’s favor and ordered Parisi to transfer his domain name to Netlearning. On October 30, 2000, Parisi filed a declaratory judgment action in federal district court seeking to vacate the UDRP panel’s award of the domain name to Netlearning. Netlearning moved for dismissal on the ground that Parisi’s complaint constitutes an improper motion to vacate an arbitration award under the FAA.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brinkema, J.)
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