“George Dikian” has now filed an answer to the VPN.com lawsuit. Dikian is represented by Rodenbaugh Law.
In June VPN.com LLC filed a multimillion lawsuit against domain investor George Dikian, Qiang Du and “John Doe” at the US District Court (California).
Dikian admits in the answer that Dikian is the professional alias identity of a well-known domain name investor and reseller.
Unless specifically admitted, Dikian denies each and all of the allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint. Here are a few interesting bits of the answer:
“On information and belief, based upon the admissions in Plaintiff’s Complaint, it is Plaintiff that attempted to commit one completely fraudulent domain name transaction. Apparently blinded yet guided by nothing but greed, Plaintiff alleges that it was defrauded of some $250,000 worth of bitcoin (as of May 4, 2022 – worth about half that amount now), in the process of perpetrating its own fraud, by which Plaintiff hoped to extract a $2,150,000 so-called “commission” as an undisclosed dual agent for both parties to the fictional transaction.”
“Dikian admits that 89.com was and is owned by Dikian. Dikian lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the remaining allegations of this Paragraph, and therefore denies the allegations of this Paragraph.”
“Dikian admits that Dikian is the professional alias identity of a well-known domain name investor and reseller. Dikian admits that there are many active domain name records listing “G.Dikian@yahoo.com” as an email contact, as identified by a “reverse WHOIS” search on DomainTools. Dikian lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the remaining allegations of this Paragraph, and therefore denies the remaining allegations of this Paragraph.”
“Dikian lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the allegations of this Paragraph, and therefore denies the allegations of this Paragraph. On information and belief, based on long experience in the domain name industry, it is unconscionable for any domain name broker to charge a nearly 100% commission (based on the sales price) in any transaction. Typical domain name brokerage commissions for multi-million dollar transactions are in the range of 5% to 15%. Dual agency transactions such as that described by Plaintiff are highly discouraged, if not illegal. Dikian states that he has never and would never agree to any transaction proposed by a dual agent disclosing a nearly 100% commission on the sales price.”
I am not too familiar with US law but I am pretty sure that in most countries you need to state your real name in a court to file an answer and you can not reply using an alias and sign the response as “Attorneys for Defendant sued as George Dikian”.
So, who is “George Dikian” on the VPN.com lawsuit?
If I was “George Dikian” and wanted to clear my name the first thing I would do is state my real name in the court. I wouldn’t use an alias in the first place but anyway…
You can read the complete “George Dikian”‘s response to the lawsuit here.
(As of today the original post about the lawsuit has 37 comments. They are worth a read.)
Probably one of the most talked-about US court cases in recent memory is “Roe v. Wade” which did not involve anyone actually named “Jane Roe”. Using aliases or pseudonyms in litigation is pretty common and, like anything else, there are rules around it over which the parties may yet argue.
You can run a business and call it whatever you like. It is not at all unusual for people to use professional names, stage names, business names, etc. to conduct business. I’m pretty sure that nobody in the domain name business has a driver’s license that says “Rick Schwartz” on it, but that is the name by which a well-known entity in the domain industry is known. And who can forget Hollywood legends like Issur Danielovitch, Marion Ross, or Norma Jeane Mortenson? Or how about US presidents Leslie Lynch Jr. and William Blythe III? While some of those very famous people later did formally change their names, they used those names for quite some time before making them official.
The artist known as “Banksy” has survived litigation on that very point in the EU: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/banksy-trademark-decision-overturned-2211959
Of course one can’t overlook the fact that the suit was filed against George Dikian, and the complaint alleges that the scheme used “the reputation of Dikian, a well known domain name investor and reseller” as part of the scheme. Apparently, the defendant has chosen not to argue that he has a reputation and is well known as an investor and reseller using that professional name. So, there’s no actual dispute between the parties over who the defendant is.
The plaintiff can of course object if they want, but they’ve already hung part of their claim on their own allegation that George Dikian has a well known reputation in the industry.
But quite a surprise nonetheless. It might be a good idea to get someone’s name nailed down when doing a $4M deal with them. We may all learn a lot from this case.
Sorry but I don’t know any other country that permits this. In the way that it is done here, anyway.
Business names are just that. Names of real businesses with real owners. Professional and stage names are used by people that we know their faces AND their real names.
This is an alias of a ghost. Not a business, not a stage name.
Rick does not reply to lawsuits as Domain King while hiding behind a yahoo email address.
I had never heard of this George Dikian before this lawsuit. I have no idea what the plaintiff thinks but most (if not all) people in the industry have never heard this name before.
Maybe VPN.com can tell us more about this Dikian.
It might be a good idea for that Dikian person to quit hiding because people will assume the worse.
Well, that’s certainly something the parties might choose to devote their energies arguing about, as I mentioned above. But the case is about whether he or she did the things alleged by VPN.
What’s kind of interesting to think about is this: If it turns out that Dikian’s accounts were compromised by an impostor, then the situation with his identity kind of makes him an ideal target. What better identity to steal than someone’s alternative identity?
Former Congressman Devin Nunes sued “Devin Nunes’ Cow” on Twitter. The fictional cow, based on dodgy agricultural tax shelters used by Nunes, won the lawsuit and we still don’t know who it was.
So the clues we have to go on are someone who claims to be well known, likes short LL and LLL names, uses a yahoo email address, and went by the first name George? Hmm…
Why is the case being held in California if no party is in California?
The WHOIS for 89.com lists Delaware as the registrant state.
The delaware address shown in historical 89.com WHOIS matches the Delaware address of DelawareInc.com. A website that boasts, “Since 1981, more than 300,000 limited liability companies and corporations have incorporated in Delaware with Harvard Business Services, Inc.”
“Why is the case being held in California if no party is in California?”
That’s a good question. The answer denies certain facts of the Complaint on which jurisdiction is premised, so that may be a sleeper issue in this case.
A new twist:
VPN has dropped Du as a defendant, raising a question of whether Du might be a necessary party under FRCP Rule 19.
So its George Kirikos right?
What? Who said that? No.