Domain Name Litigation and Transactions
- $1.3 M
- 5-star EFF Rating
Electronic Payment Processing Litigation
• In 2016,Eugene Rome secured an $2,400,000 judgment against an international art fraudster in a case concerning a sale of two Marc Chagall paintings. The dispute arose when our client, Opera Gallery, purchased two $400,000 Chagall pieces that they later learned were fake which the seller refused to deliver. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/opera-gallery-gilles-dyan-gailord-bovrisse-640784.
• In 2016, after a two-week jury trial, Mr. Rome obtained a $9 million verdict consisting of $1.5 million in actual damages and $7.5 million in a cross-border payment processing dispute involving an elaborate web of individuals and companies working in concert to divert funds belonging to his clients.
• In February of 2015, Eugene first-chaired a jury trial in Santa Ana Federal Court. In the action, Eugene represented a prominent businessman in an action for breach of oral agreement and fraud arising out of a failed referral relationship in the complex international payment processing space. After about two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in plaintiff’s favor on all counts, awarding in excess of $735,465 in actual damages and $1.45 million in punitive damages on the fraud and conversion claims.
• In September of 2014, Eugene Rome of Rome & Associates first-chaired a jury trial on behalf of an investor against a public company and the promoter of its stock. In the action, the investor was defrauded out of his funds in a sophisticated swindle entailing multiple shell companies, nominee agents and stock manipulation. After 3 days of trial, the case was settled as to the company and its CEO in exchange for additional issue of stock and cash payments by the company and the company’s former securities attorney. Trial proceeded as to the stock promoter and Eugene procured a verdict of $329,000 in actual damages, $987,000 in punitive damages and an award of attorneys’ fees.
• The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a new report and scorecard that shows what online service providers are doing to protect users from baseless copyright and trademark complaints. Out of a multitude of companies, including Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, only WordPress and Rome & Associates’ client, registrar Namecheap, Inc. procured a 5-star rating. https://www.eff.org/press/releases/which-service-providers-side-users-ip-disputes?utm_campaign=autofeed&utm_term=eff&utm_content=tech-freedom&utm_medium=twitter. Rome & Associates played an integral part in the development and implementation of the policies and terms which resulted in this terrific finding by the EFF and participated in the review process which resulted in the 5-star rating.
• Procured a settlement consisting of stock and cash from a public company on the fourth day of a jury trial in a case involving a complex fraud perpetrated by the stock promoter during the reverse merger of the company.
• In a matter entitled Namecheap, Inc. v. Amecheap.com, et al., the attorneys at Rome & Associates initiated an action against 46 domain names infringing Namecheap’s marks, the registrants of the domain names and individuals monetizing said domains. On January 3, 2013, California Central District Court Judge Gary A. Feess entered judgment in Namecheap’s favor, finding each domain and related registrant liable for $50,000 in statutory damages for a total of $1,300,000. Further, Judge Feess entered an injunction against the operators of the domains as well as the registrars, prohibiting further infringement and instructing a transfer of the domains to Namecheap, Inc. pursuant to the in rem provision of the ACPA.
• After 3 years of protracted litigation in state and federal court, obtained summary judgment as to all claims brought by a prominent garment manufacturer against a fabric importer seeking damages for warranty breaches.
• Obtained dismissals of two federal cases in the Northern Division of the Utah District Court involving allegations of trademark and copyright infringement asserted against a client. The dismissal followed extensive briefing on the safe harbors afforded Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
• Secured dismissal at the pleading stage of a copyright infringement claim asserted against a domain name registrar in a matter pending before a federal court sitting in the Central Division of the Northern District of Iowa.
• Obtained a $3.75 million dollar judgment on behalf of a client against the main perpetrator of a ponzi scheme that was set up as a futures trading company. In the same repesentation, secured a $3.75 million judgment against the defendant’s attorney who enabled the fraud.
• In a shareholder derivative suit, procured a favorable buy-out of a minority shareholder’s shares by the defendant corporation. The settlement occured shortly after the court granted a motion to disqualify defense counsel from joint representation of the company and its defalcating directors brought by Rome & Associates.
• Successfully represented the owner of a prominent Andy Warhol diamond dust painting in an action involving competing claimants to the proceeds from the auction of the subject painting. The client recovered a substantial portion of the sale price.
• Successfully resolved a claim on behalf of a prominent art gallery against its insurance carrier stemming from damage to a significant work by Pablo Picasso. After an initial denial of coverage during representation by prior counsel, Rome & Associates substituted into the matter and persuaded the insurer to reconsider its position. The matter was settled shortly thereafter with the gallery receiving a substantial settlement.
• Handled credit card transaction processing disputes against independent sales organizations, acquiring banks, and payment service providers involving mishandling of merchant funds. Credit card processing matters included the representation of a merchant against an acquiring bank and credit card association where Rome & Associates persuaded the court as to the viability of a direct claim against a card association absent contractual privity between the merchant and the association. The result is believed to be the first of its kind in the credit card processing area. The case was settled shortly thereafter.
• Settled two separate disputes on behalf of payment processor clients. One case involved a major credit card company and the other involved a major international banking institution.
• Procured a favorable judgment in a fraud action filed on behalf of a film financier against one of the producers of the Twilight film trilogy. The producer had extracted hundreds of thousands of dollars from an investor as a purported bridge loan, but the proceeds were ultimately used for the producer’s unrelated projects. After procuring a judgment for fraud, the matter was ultimately settled for more than the invested amount and the client received multiple producer credits in other film projects.
• Represented a radio design company in an unfair competition and trade misappropriation action against a multinational specialty radio manufacturer. The matter proceeded to trial with favorable mid-trial settlements.
• Obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of the plaintiff in a trade secret misappropriation matter concerning a customer list wrongfully obtained by the defendant competitor. The matter was settled favorable shortly thereafter.
• In copyright matters, the lawyers at Rome & Associates represented Tab Hunter in a matter involving the misappropriation of ideas and content by studios and production companies. More recently, Rome & Associates represented software companies and web-based merchants and service providers in actions involving direct and contributory infringement of source code, content and images. In 2011, Rome & Associates prosecuted and resolved an action arising out of infringement of source code by a prominent 3-D printer manufacturer. The matter was resolved shortly after the deposition of the defendant company’s CEO.
• Represented the defendant in Solid Host, NL v. NameCheap, Inc., No. 08-5414, 2009 WL 2225726 (C.D. Cal. May 19, 2009) in a precedent-setting matter. Persuaded the California District Court to limit the direct liability of anonymous registration service provider for violations of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) and to restrict third party beneficiary claims brought under the provisions of the ICANN Registrar Accreditation Agreement.
• On behalf of a trademark owner, persuaded the District Court to issue a preliminary injunction limiting a third party’s use of a domain name. This led to a settlement on terms that included the transfer of the domain name.
• Represented a concert producer in action against one of the largest concert promoters in the world, arising out of a failed joint venture to stage an ice-skating musical entitled “Broadway on Ice.” The matter was favorably settled.
• Successfully defended the world-renowned opera singer Sara Brightman in a Ninth Circuit appeal arising out of a purported breach of contract. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision.
• Represented a hedge fund manager and his companies in a legal malpractice matter against former counsel arising out of the collapse of a $50 million fund. We substituted into the action following a year and a half of fruitless litigation by prior counsel. After substantially recalibrating the theories of liability and damages claims, we settled the entire matter within two months of substituting into the action.