Lewis & Lin Obtains TRO and Preliminary Injunction against Alleged Computer Hacker / Cybersquatter of Nootropics.com Domain Name
In a move that returns a domain name to the control of our client, Lewis & Lin was granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the former owner of the domain, who allegedly attempted to regain access to it.
Our client, Cerelux Ltd., is an online seller of nonprescription cognitive enhancers known as nootropics. Until recently, Cerelux operated its business at the domain name nootropics.com, which our client’s principal obtained from the defendant in 2016. As alleged in the complaint, defendants transferred the domain name to Cerelux willingly enough in 2016, but subsequently suffered a case of seller’s remorse. After installing some sort of spying software, likely a key-logging program on a computer belonging to Cerelux’s principal, defendants gained unauthorized access to Cerelux’s domain registrar account to steal the domain. Defendants, impersonating Cerelux’s principal, transferred the domain name to another registrar, which caused Cerelux’s website to crash. Defendants subsequently tried to blackmail Cerelux into ceasing all operations.
Working with Los Angeles-based local counsel, Lewis & Lin filed a six-count complaint in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for violation of the Wiretap Act and Stored Communications Act, trespass to chattels, and related claims. We also filed an Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Why a Preliminary Injunction Should Not Issue.
After a hearing, the court ordered that GoDaddy, the registrar of record for the domain name, transfer the domain into an account for our client, point the DNS and MX servers for the domain to our client’s website and mail servers, and place a legal lock on the domain. The court further ordered that our client had full access to all functionality of the domain and that the defendants were prohibited from impeding plaintiff’s access in any manner.
From the filing of the complaint to the issuing of the TRO took four days. Less than two weeks later, the preliminary injunction issued. While the case is still proceeding in litigation, our client is able to have full control over its rightful domain. The case is Cerelux Ltd. v. Shao, et al., No 17-CV-02909 (MWF) (KSX).