UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
James B. Strickland,
Civil action no. 00-CV-3343
JUDGE BRUCE W. KAUFFMAN
DECLARATION OF JAMES B. STRICKLAND
I, James B. Strickland, defendant in this action, state the following under penalty of perjury.
1. My name is James B. Strickland, Jr. My name was given to me by my parents. I have used the nickname "Strick" since my childhood. As such I, an individual, have been commonly known by the name "Strick".
2. I am an independent computer consultant and software developer. On about July 28, 1995 I realized it would be good for my business to have an easy-to-remember Internet domain name. I found that I was too late to obtain the domain name "strickland.com" because it had been registered February 15, 1995. I then found that "strick.com" had not already been registered, so I registered it. I immediately began using it to communicate with clients and potential clients of my computer consulting and software development business.
3. I believe that Strick Corporation ("SC") could have obtained the "strick.com" domain name by the simple step of registering it at any time prior to July 28, 1995.
4. My ownership and use of the "strick.com" domain name has at all times been openly and honestly carried out, and I have never done anything to conceal my actions.
5. At the time I registered my "strick.com" domain name, I had never heard of SC. To this day I have no independent knowledge of SC's business.
6. Before any notice by SC to me of this dispute, I had been using the name "strick.com" in connection with a bona fide offering of my computer consulting and software development services.
7. I used the "strick.com" Internet domain name from July 28, 1995 to March 28, 1996, a period of eight months, during which time SC said nothing to me about the domain name.
8. By a letter dated March 29, 1996, SC's attorney wrote to me, asserting a trademark registration and threatening to "assert all of their rights available under and pursuant to the NSI policy as well as pursuant to applicable legal doctrine," if I did not surrender the "strick.com" domain name to SC. A true copy of the letter is attached as Exh. ??.
9. Prior to receiving the March 29, 1996 letter, I had never heard of SC.
10. By a letter dated April 15, 1996, I answered the March 29, 1996 letter, attempting to respond to SC's threats of legal action with a settlement offer. A true copy of the letter is attached as Exh. ??.
11. By a letter dated August 13, 1996, SC's counsel wrote to NSI asking NSI to cut off the "strick.com" domain name. A true copy of the letter is attached as Exh. ??.
12. By a letter dated September 3, 1996, NSI informed me that based upon SC's representations, NSI had made plans not to transfer the "strick.com" domain name to SC, but merely to place the "strick.com" domain name "on hold".
13. By a letter dated September 30, 1996, SC's attorney asked NSI to postpone its plans to place the "strick.com" domain name "on hold" until October 21, 1996. NSI agreed to do so.
14. By a letter dated October 5, 1996, SC wrote to me pointing out that soon I would no longer be able to make any use of the "strick.com" domain name, and suggesting that I "relinquish" the domain name to SC.
15. Given NSI's imminent plans to place the "strick.com" domain name "on hold", I was forced to select and register a different domain name. I selected "tibertech.com" and registered the domain name on October 13, 1996.
16. On October 18, 1996, my counsel wrote to SC's counsel:
I have asked you on several occasions whether you have any reason to think my client is an infringer, and have been met with silence. I have offered repeatedly that if there is anything my client is doing that you feel counts as trademark infringement, you should let me know and I would look into it. You have not taken me up on that offer.
To this day, SC has never explained what conduct of mine supposedly counts as trademark infringement.
17. On about January 17, 1997, NSI placed the "strick.com" domain name "on hold".
18. In May 5, 2000 SC filed an ICANN challenge against me. NSI thus canceled its plans to restore "strick.com" to service.
19. On about May 31, 2000, my counsel and I prepared and filed a Response to the Complaint.
20. On about July 7, 2000, the National Arbitration Forum announced the decision of the arbitration panel. The panel ruled in my favor, ordering that the "strick.com" domain name be restored to my use. A copy of the decision is attached as Exhibit ??.
21. On about September 16, 2000, SC for the first time served its Summons and Complaint in this action upon me.
22. For about three years, I was unable to use the "strick.com" domain name to communicate with clients and potential clients of my computer consulting and software development business, due to the domain name having been placed "on hold" by NSI at SC's request. This harmed me.
23. In 1995, and indeed to this day, registration of Internet domain names was and is basically "first-come, first-served". If SC had wanted to possess the domain name "strick.com," it could have done so by the simple step of registering it before I did.
24. Harvard University obtained its "harvard.edu" domain name in 1985. IBM obtained its "ibm.com" domain name in 1986. SC has never explained why, if the "strick.com" domain name was so important to it, it did not simply register the "strick.com" domain name some time between 1986 and 1995.
25. It is quite easy to find SC's web page by typing in "Strick" at a search engine.
Dated November 20, 2000.
James B. Strickland