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Bodog battles patent trolls

15 Oct 2007

COSTA RICA -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Roughly seven weeks after the Bodog businesses lost control of their previous domain names as a result of an improperly-obtained default judgment, the attempt by 1st Technology LLC to extort close to $49 million has been challenged with disappointing results for international fairness.

Equipped with gripping evidence and a focused legal team, Bodog Entertainment Group, S.A. had its day in court with patent troll 1st Technology and its associate legal team; headed, Bodog believes, by Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro.

In today's hearing held in Las Vegas, Nev. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, 1st Technology's request for a permanent injunction to halt all Bodog business in the U.S. was denied, as was a more recent "emergency" request to stop any redirection of Internet traffic to BodogLife.com. The U.S. federal judge found that 1st Technology's motions for a permanent injunction were faulty and requested inappropriate relief. In its minute order issued today, the court wrote that 1st Technology "failed to satisfy the requirements for permanent injunctive relief and in the Court's view, is requesting relief beyond this Court's power to grant." In any event, the entity named as a defendant in the lawsuit - Bodog Entertainment Group, S.A. -- does not have the legal ability to affect any of the relief which 1st Technology sought, so 1st Technology's two motions for permanent injunctions were in many ways moot.

Confident as ever, Bodog Founder Calvin Ayre states on his blog, "Look, the bottom line is this: The Costa Rican company they sued, Bodog Entertainment Group, S.A., does not itself provide online services nor did it ever operate or own any websites. It's not even directly part of the Bodog Group of Companies, as it was structured as a third party service provider, and it was shut down operationally a year ago (end of September 2006). It merely provided some call center data entry and domain management services for various entities that use the Bodog name or provide online entertainment services for Bodog. It was our intention to get the various Bodog domain names back from this company and we were in the process of this when they were hijacked."

Ayre continues, adding, "A company has to be running websites to even potentially infringe a patent that 1st Technology claims to cover websites. Though 1st Technology and its lawyer bosses are classic patent trolls, this has never been a patent case; it has always just been a legal system "stick up" where the objective was always to grab the domain names and try to force a monetary settlement, the legal equivalent of a back alley mugging. Bad luck for them that they tried to mug Bodog. We won the war immediately when we moved to BodogLife.com so effortlessly and we will always be BodogLife.com going forward, but we do want to protect the various Bodog trademarks by getting back control of some of the heisted domain names."

The judge also denied Bodog Entertainment Group, S.A.'s motion to set aside the default judgment, so the judgment remains in effect. The company plans to appeal that ruling. Bodog Founder Calvin Ayre sees this case as pivotal to the area of law related to what, if any, rights international companies not operating in the U.S. have over ownership and control of domain names on the global internet. "We regret that the judge in this case decided not to let us open these legal issues, so in addition to the inevitable appeal, we are also intending to open up new legal fronts to ensure that this important issue is given proper judicial review in the U.S.. This is the first time of which we are aware that a non-U.S. company, with zero operations or assets in the U.S. has had its domain names seized with no prior notice simply because it was using a U.S-based domain name registrar. We do not believe that domain names should be allowed to be defined as assets to be seized for purposes of collecting on a judgment."

Ayre concludes his blog post with, "The real good news is that this company has zero assets in it, being formally wound up under Costa Rican law over a year ago, so our friends in C.R. are not going to have to worry about losing anything in this no matter how this unfolds."

Legal papers relating to the lawsuit can be found on calvinayrelife.com.

 
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