Unstoppable Domains wins partial motion to dismiss in .wallet lawsuit

Judge agrees to dismiss two of three claims.

Picture of a wallet with three credit cards and the word .wallet superimposed in white text

Blockchain naming platform Unstoppable Domains has convinced a judge to dismiss two claims brought against it by the owner of the .wallet domain in Handshake.

Unstoppable Domains sued Gateway Registry in 2022 after Gateway started offering second level registrations in the Handshake .wallet name. Unstoppable offers a rival .wallet blockchain name.

Gateway was selling domains on behalf of Handshake .wallet registrant Scott Florsck. Gateway shut down shortly after the lawsuit was filed.

Unstoppable and Florsck then filed lawsuits against each other (within about an hour) on September 21, 2022. About a year later, Unstoppable dropped its suit against Florsck, but Florsck retained his suit.

In his suit, Florsck asks for a declaratory judgment that he isn’t infringing Unstoppable’s purported trademark rights. He also alleged that Unstoppable engaged in unfair competition under the Lanham Act and that it violated Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Unstoppable asked the judge to dismiss the latter two claims, and Judge Colm F. Connolly issued an order today agreeing with Unstoppable.

In the decision (pdf), Connolly noted that Florsck based both of the claims on Unstoppable’s decision to file a lawsuit against Gateway. He wrote:

Unstoppable argues, and I agree, that these claims are barred by the Noerr-Pennington doctrine. That doctrine “provides broad immunity from liability to those who petition the government, including administrative agencies and courts, for redress of their grievances.”

The lawsuit will continue on the other count for declaratory judgment.

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