Guest Post: Court Denies Motion Against WebQuest in Hayward.com Case
This is a guest post written by Brett Lewis of the Lewis & Hand law firm in Brooklyn, New York regarding a ruling from the Hayward.com lawsuit filed by WebQuest.com, Inc. Brett’s firm is currently representing WebQuest. You can read some background on the bad Hayward.com UDRP decision on Mike’s Blog. It looks like the litigation is off to a good start for WebQuest, and I wish them all the best in its legal battle for this valuable geodomain name.
In the case of WebQuest.com, Inc. v. Hayward Industries, Inc., 1:10 cv00306-OWW-JLT, the Court denied Hayward Industries’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, granting an early victory in the case to WebQuest.
Hayward Industries, which manufactures pool lights, pumps, and filters, had argued that even accepting all of the facts pleaded by WebQuest in its complaint as true, there was no question that WebQuest had acted in bad faith in registering the <Hayward.com> domain name. The Court also granted WebQuest’s motion to strike Hayward Industries’ exhibits as “unnecessary evidentiary materials.”
Hayward Industries had tried to use those exhibits to support its claim for judgment on the pleadings, a claim which the Court said “bordered on the frivolous.” The Court denied WebQuest’s motion for sanctions, however, finding that the motion, “was not so devoid of merit that it violates Rule 11.”
The case arose after WebQuest lost a UDRP decision over the <Hayward.com> and <wwwHayward.com> domain names and filed an action in Court to stop the WIPO-ordered transfer. Although the decision comes at an early stage in the case, the Court’s ruling may signal that Hayward Industries will face a difficult task at establishing bad faith.
The Court stated that: “Defendant cites no authority for the proposition that bad faith may be found despite an entity’s lack of knowledge of a trademark holder’s existence.” Given WebQuest’s claim that it registered the domain names for their value as geographic identifiers for the Bay Area city of Hayward, California, the Court found that, “Plaintiff’s activity does not as a matter of law establish the quintessential case of bad faith intent to profit contemplated by section 1125.”