Ordered Transferred to Law Firm

Rhett Pardon

DALLAS — A former employee of the law offices of Dallas-based McKool Smith registered "solely to harass" the firm, according to a UDRP decision by an arbitrator who ordered the domain name transferred yesterday. was acquired in April by Chelsea Davis of Dallas, who, according to the arbitrator, registered it but never placed any content on the site.

But the arbitrator noted that Davis filed an application to register the domain name as a U.S. trademark for the suspected purpose of criticizing the law firm's employment practices.

In the ruling, the arbitrator decided against Davis' rights to the .xxx domain name, saying the domain name was confusing similar to the "McKool Smith" trademarked name, that the .xxx website has no legitimate use because it is not a member of the adult-entertainment community that the .xxx TLD is explicitly reserved for, and that the registration was made in bad faith.

"[Davis] is abusing the .xxx TLD by using the domain name as leverage in extorting [the law firm of McKool Smith] by association of the McKool Smith legal services mark with the adult-entertainment business," said the arbitrator with the National Arbitration Forum.

Davis, the arbitrator said, had been terminated several years ago at the Dallas office of McKool Smith —  a mid-size U.S. firm that consists of 175 trial lawyers in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley and Washington.

The law firm has owned since 1997.