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Defendant's failure to assign domain name results is finding of contempt of Court

View profile for Torion Bowles
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In the case of Juul Labs Inc v Quick Juul Ltd (formerly Quick Xuul Ltd and Quick Juul Ltd) [2019] EWHC 1281 (Ch) (21 May 2019) the High Court has found an individual to be in contempt of Court having intentionally breached the terms of a court order by failing to sign two documents to transfer a domain name to the claimants in passing off proceedings. The sentence handed down was two months' imprisonment.

The Court considered the terms of the court order had been explained to the defendant very carefully, but he had deliberately acted in an obstructive manner by signing and returning the wrong documents. The Court considered that the initial failure to provide the documentation was a technical breach which escalated into a substantive breach once the defendant knew about the order and he chose to ignore it.

A finding of contempt would have been avoided if genuine remorse had been shown and the individual had complied immediately once in receipt of order. However, the individual did not comply until he was effectively forced to at a committal hearing some weeks after being warned that he was in contempt. The Court found there was a very significant degree of culpability and an apology offered at the contempt hearing counted for little as it was given at such a late stage.

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