.Wallet Handshake owner steps in to defend domain in court

Registrant of .wallet on Handshake asks court to allow him to intervene.

Logo for Handshake domains includes a stylized H and the word handshake

The registrant of the .wallet top level domain in Handshake, Scott Florcsk, has filed with a court to intervene in a lawsuit related to the domain.

Unstoppable Domains, one of many competing blockchain domain initiatives, filed a lawsuit against Gateway Registry and its owner in July. The company claimed that, by offering second level .wallet domain registrations, Gateway was infringing on Unstoppable’s .wallet domain rights.

The lawsuit did not name Florcsk even though Florcsk had reached out to Unstoppable’s lawyer after Unstoppable sent a cease & desist letter to Gateway, according to Florcsk’s motion.

Gateway decided not to fight the lawsuit and shut down.

Unstoppable’s request for an injunction with the court included language that would likely prevent Florcsk from selling second level .wallet domains with another technology partner. So he filed a motion to intervene today. The motion states:

On August 19, 2022, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Default Judgment and Order Granting Permanent Injunctive Relief against Defendants. (D.I. 18). However, in its request for relief, Plaintiff specified that the permanent injunction should apply not only to Defendants, but also, “other persons who are in active concert or participation with” Defendants. (Id., n.6; D.I. 17 [Proposed Order]). It is clear that Plaintiff is attempting to broaden the reach of the relief it seeks from this Court to encompass Proposed Intervenor’s use of the .WALLET TLD on Handshake’s blockchain. And should the breadth of Plaintiff’s requested relief encompass Proposed Intervenor, it is imperative that he be permitted to intervene and defend his rights to the .WALLET TLD.

In the motion, Florcsk alleges that Unstoppable filed the lawsuit against Gateway and its owner knowing that they didn’t have the financial resources to respond, and argued that this was part of the strategy in the suit.

He also pointed out that Unstoppable doesn’t have a registered trademark for Wallet. Unstoppable has noted its pending trademark registration for Wallet in its legal filings, but has not mentioned that the trademark is currently in a denied state.

Florcsk argues that there’s no likelihood of confusion in blockchain domains because, unlike ICANN-regulated domains, they exist on independent blockchains:

Unstoppable further knows that there is no likelihood of confusion between the .WALLET TLD on Handshake’s blockchain and the .WALLET TLD on Unstoppable’s blockchain. Akin to shopping carts at a store, while two shopping carts might look exactly the same in the abstract, if a Walmart shopping cart can only be used in Walmart, and a Costco shopping cart can only be used in Costco, a consumer could never be confused as to which shopping cart he or she is using while shopping. If the consumer is in Walmart, he or she must be using a Walmart cart, and if in Costco, he or she must be using a Costco cart. Thus, the use of TLD like .WALLET on Handshake’s blockchain could never be confused with the .WALLET domain on Unstoppable’s blockchain because a consumer cannot be on both blockchains at once.

After Unstoppable Domains filed the lawsuit, Florcsk sent a plea to the Handshake community asking for financial help to defend the domain. It is not clear if anyone has stepped up to help, although Namecheap’s CEO indicated on Twitter that it was perhaps going to provide some support. Namecheap operates a rival to Gateway.

Eugene Rome of Rome & Associates is representing Florcsk.


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