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Tangible Property: First Domain Lawsuit Filed After Federal Ruling

Storage specialist Optima Technology Corporation has filed a lawsuit against Network Solutions alleging that the registrar gave away its domain name without its permission causing damage to its business.

The suit alleges that Network Solutions transferred ownership of its domain name "optimatech.com" to a former Optima employee Michael DeCorte, which has allowed him to redirect Optima's revenue to his possession. Optima claims that DeCorte along with another former employee Raymond Martin, used a fake webiste to divert Optima's revenue. Network Solutions returned the domain name back to Optima in 2001.

This is what Barry Eisler, Optima's president says:

"This is no different than parking your car with the Valet, giving your key to the valet attendant and coming out after a wonderful dinner, only to find your car was stolen as the valet gave your keys to a crook without checking to see if you authorized the theft.

We are taking this action now, after notifying Network Solutions on several occasions that its actions caused our company a great deal of damage and lost revenue. The remedy sought is quite straightforward — we are asking for over $3 million in damages caused by their actions in giving our domain away."

Jack Geering, Optima's senior vice president says:

"We don't know exactly when (DeCorte) gained control of our domain name and when he began diverting our sales traffic...When we confronted Network Solutions, they refused to give us the information. They said they had a letter from our company authorizing the transfer and had also had follow-up phone calls with us.

Optima will aggressively enforce its trademark and patent portfolio and protect the interests of its private stockholders," said Jack Geering, Optima's senior vice president. "To be fair, competition has to be based on a level playing field — companies must compete on the basis of innovation and according to the laws of the land. All we ask is that Network Solutions play by these rules and stop conducting damaging and possible illegal actions against domain holders like Optima.

As part of protecting our assets we have filed this lawsuit against Network Solutions; we will also soon file over 45 Federal Lawsuits against others who are in violation of one of our key patents (U.S. patent 5,666,531)."

This lawsuit is the first case after July 2003 federal ruling for treating domains as tangible properties — initiated by the sex.com case.

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