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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 1 of 25

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SHARON A. URIAS (SBN 016970)


URIAS LAW OFFICES, PLLC
8585 E. Hartford Drive, Ste. 700k
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Tel. 480.306.5458
Fax. 480.306.5459
Attorney email. surias@uriaslaw.com
Firm email: docket@uriaslaw.com

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Attorneys for Plaintiffs CCECI and Kelly Murray

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA

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COLLABORATIVE CONTINUING
EDUCATION COUNCIL, INC., a
Tennessee corporation d/b/a Divorce This
House and DivorceThisHouse.com and
KELLY MURRAY, an unmarried
individual,
Plaintiffs,
vs.

Case No.
COMPLAINT

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

STARKS REALTY GROUP, INC., a


California corporation; LAUREL
STARKS and JOHN DOE STARKS,
husband and wife; and UNHOOKED
BOOKS, LLC, an Arizona limited liability
company,
Defendants.

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Plaintiffs COLLABORATIVE CONTINUING EDUCATION COUNCIL, INC., a

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Tennessee corporation d/b/a Divorce This House and DivorceThisHouse.com and Kelly

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Murray (Murray) (collectively, Plaintiffs) for their Complaint against Defendants


Starks Realty Group, Inc., Laurel Starks, John Doe Starks (the Starks Defendants) and
Unhooked Books, LLC (collectively, Defendants) state and allege as follows:

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 2 of 25

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INTRODUCTION
1.

This is an action for trademark infringement, false designation of origin,

unfair competition, and cybersquatting arising out of a direct business competitors

registration and use of nearly identical and confusingly similar domain names, book titles,

continuing professional education event source identifiers and/or titles, trademarks,

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commercial names, fictitious business names, and website page names and meta data.
2.

Plaintiffs senior use in commerce of DIVORCE THIS HOUSE (DIVORCE

THIS HOUSE) and DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE (sometimes
referred to together as Plaintiffs Marks) for their trademarks and divorcethishouse.com
(divorceTHIShouse.com) as their registered domain name predates and thus precludes
under federal and state law Defendants knowing, intentional, and willful use of DIVORCE
THE HOUSE (DIVORCE THE HOUSE) and DIVORCING THE HOUSE
(DIVORCING THE HOUSE) with identical services in the same market and market

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channels targeting the same classes of professionals and consumers in Arizona, California,

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nationwide, and via the Internet.


PARTIES, JURISDICTION AND VENUE

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3.

Plaintiff Collaborative Continuing Education Council, Inc. (CCECI) is a

corporation organized in 2008 under the laws of the State of Tennessee and has its principal
place of business in Franklin, Tennessee. CCECI is a leading continuing professional
education provider specializing in the niche divorce real estate topic directed to real estate
licensees for continuing education credit hours, CLE directed to lawyers, among other
professions, as well as consumers/divorcing homeowners. In addition to television

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advertising, radio appearances, national professional trade articles and news articles to
promote and market its goods and services, CCECI also conducts business under the name
Divorce This House and markets its services via the Internet at the domain name
divorcethishouse.com (divorceTHIShouse.com).
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4.

Plaintiff Kelly Murray (Murray) is an unmarried individual residing in

Williamson County, Tennessee. With degrees from Stanford University (A.B. 1988, Phi

Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1991, cum laude), Murray is President of

CCECI and also its primary faculty member for continuing professional education offerings.

Murray has been a member of the faculty of a top 20 law school since 2005 where she

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teaches legal writing. Murray has held in good standing an Illinois law license since 1991
and Tennessee real estate salesperson license (termed affiliate broker), TREC # 296371,
since February 2, 2005. Regarding divorce real estate, Murray completed Tennessee
Supreme Court Rule 31 family mediation training in 2004 and collaborative law training in
2010.
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Upon information and belief, Defendant Starks Realty Group, Inc. (Starks

Realty) is, and at all times relevant hereto was, a corporation organized under the laws of
the State of California with its principal place of business at 8250 White Oak Ave #102,

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Rancho Cucamonga, California 91730. Upon information and belief, Starks Realty was

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incorporated in the State of California on November 15, 2013.

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Upon information and belief, Defendant Laurel Starks (Starks) is, and at all

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times relevant hereto was, a married individual residing in the State of California, County of

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San Bernardino. The activities described in this Complaint, upon information and belief,

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were undertaken on behalf of the marital community, comprised of Starks and her spouse,

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John Doe Starks.

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Upon information and belief, at all times relevant hereto, Starks has held a

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California real estate salesperson license, CA BRE # 01719958 since November 17, 2005.

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Also upon information and belief, Starks employing real estate broker is Rancho Realty,

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Inc., CA BRE License ID # 01527033, a Keller Williams Realty brand licensee. Upon
information and belief, none of the DBA on file with the California Bureau of Real Estate
for Starks employing broker include DIVORCE THE HOUSE. Further upon information

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and belief, since November 2005 Starks was and has been a member of the National

Association of REALTORS, a private trade group. Also upon information and belief,

Starks is current with that groups quadrennial ethics continuing education requirement for

its members, including but not limited to Standards of Practice and ethics obligations

regarding domain name purchasing and advertising ethics.

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8.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Unhooked Books, LLC (Unhooked

Books), is a limited liability company organized under the laws of the State of Arizona,
with its principal place of business in Scottsdale, Arizona, and formerly known as Family
Law Solutions, LLC. Also upon information and belief, Unhooked Books owns and
operates the unincorporated Unhooked Books as an imprint of the unincorporated High
Conflict Institute Press.
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Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that Defendants, and

each of them, are and were at all times herein mentioned, the agents, servants, employees

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and/or joint venturers of each of the other Defendants, and at all times herein mentioned

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were acting within the course and scope of said agency, employment or joint venture.

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10.

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.

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1125 et seq., 28 U.S.C. 1338(a) and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act

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(ACPA), 15 U.S.C. 1125(d). This Complaint also alleges violations of state law. This

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Court has supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1338(b)

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and 1367(a).

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Venue is proper in this Judicial District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391(b) because

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Unhooked Books has its principal place of business in this district and because a substantial

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part of the events giving rise to the claims occurred in this district. Venue also is proper in

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this judicial district because this is a dispute concerning the use of domain names registered
with GoDaddy.com and GoDaddy.coms terms of service require domain name purchasers

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to submit to jurisdiction and venue in this Court. (Productive People, LLC v. Ives Design,

No., 2009 WL 1749751, at *1 (D. Ariz. 2009).

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12.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Unhooked Books as an Arizona

limited liability company.


13.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Starks and Starks Realty because

said Defendants have availed themselves of the laws of, and directed their activities at,
Arizona, by employing an Arizona company, Go Daddy Group, Inc., having an address of
14455 N. Hayden Rd., Suite 219, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, as their agent to register the
following

domain

names:

divorcethehouse.com

(divorceTHEhouse.com),

divorcetheouse.info, divorcethehouse.net, divorcethehouse.org and divorcingthehouse.com


(divorcINGTHEhouse.com.) all of which upon information and belief before 2016
redirected to Starks Realty corporate websites and/or web pages and some of which in 2016
were redirected by Defendants to Unhooked Books online bookstore web page(s) fulfilling

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from the State of Arizona orders by Arizona residents for the Infringing Book Title.

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Defendants also have availed themselves of the laws of, and directed their activities at,

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Arizona in 2016 by advertising events and services specifically for Arizona consumers. Said

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Defendants or their agents, also advertise, offer for sale and sell competing or related

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services, using the infringing marks DIVORCE THE HOUSE and DIVORCING THE

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HOUSE across the United States via the internet and in Arizona using the above-listed

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domain names.

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ALLEGATIONS COMMON TO ALL CLAIMS

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Plaintiffs Trademark Rights

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14.

Plaintiffs are the owners of all rights in the trademark DIVORCE THIS

HOUSE. Plaintiffs were first to use DIVORCE THIS HOUSE in commerce, on February
15, 2008. Plaintiffs have used the mark continuously in the United States in connection
with divorce real estate goods and services since February 2008. Plaintiffs also are the

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 6 of 25

owners of all rights in the trademark DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR

SPOUSE, first used in commerce August 2008.

2009 brochure used by Plaintiffs demonstrating use of Plaintiffs Marks is attached hereto

as Exhibit 1. Plaintiffs Marks are not registered with the USPTO.

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A true and correct copy of an October

Divorce real estate is a niche continuing education market addressing legal,

financial/tax, and emotional issues concerning real property matters relating to divorce.
Divorce real estate education services include training on how to provide analysis,
consulting services, and support for alternative dispute resolution and litigation. Platforms
for synchronous and asynchronous delivery of divorce real estate education services include
producing, arranging, conducting, and teaching live event and online seminars, classes,
workshops, conferences, teleseminars, webcasts, and webinars, publication and distribution
of course materials, self-help materials, and marketing solutions that are printed and/or
digital, as well as individual consultations and coaching. Customers include legal (judges,

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lawyers, mediators, paralegals), financial (accountants/CPAs, certified financial

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planners/CFPs, certified divorce financial analysts/CDFAs), and/or real estate (real

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estate licensees, mortgage, title, house insurance, house condition) professionals as well as

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divorcing homeowners.

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Plaintiffs designation earned by real estate licensees is RCS-D from 2008

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to present. Plaintiffs designation acronym stands for Real Estate Collaboration Specialist-

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Divorce. From 2008-09, the designation was Collaborative, and in 2010 Plaintiffs

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changed the term to Collaboration.

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Starks earned Plaintiffs RCS-D designation in Murrieta, California

October 20-21, 2009 by completing the live event course titled Divorce This House
taught by Murray, and passing the required examination. Starks requested and received
from Plaintiffs 12 consumer protection DRE hours approved by the then titled California
Department of Real Estate. As part of the live event course, Murray taught all attendees,

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 7 of 25

including Starks, how to market divorce real estate services and displayed Plaintiffs one-

page brochure for attendees to attach their business cards and use to market their divorce

real estate services to the public and legal professionals, under Plaintiffs DIVORCE THE

HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE mark. (See Ex. 1.) As an adult learner attending

Plaintiffs Divorce This House titled and branded live event course, Starks received

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Plaintiffs published course materials, in a three-ring binder, copyrighted and trademarked


under Plaintiffs DIVORCE THIS HOUSE mark. Upon information and belief, Starks
currently is in possession of Plaintiffs trademarked and copyrighted course book and other
course materials trademarked under the DIVORCE THIS HOUSE mark and/or DIVORCE
THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE brochure available to Plaintiffs course
attendees via download from Plaintiffs corporate website. (See Ex. 1.) In fall 2009, Starks
received via email from Murray the password to Plaintiffs RCS-D members-only
download page on their corporate website. During fall 2009, Starks accessed Plaintiffs

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corporate website, complained via email to Murray that she was not listed on Plaintiffs

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RCS-D designee public directory, and upon information and belief logged in to the

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members-only download page on Plaintiffs corporate website and downloaded Plaintiffs

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resources including the DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE branded

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brochure. (See Ex. 1.) Starks thereafter used RCS-D designation after her name on her

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October 2009 curriculum vitae as well as in her email signature in fall 2009.

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Plaintiffs have been teaching divorce real estate to real estate licensees in

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commerce since February 27, 2008 under DIVORCE THIS HOUSE, first taught divorce

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real estate CLE and CME, continuing mediation education, under DIVORCE THIS

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HOUSE in commerce in December 2008, and have continually used DIVORCE THIS

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HOUSE and divorceTHIShouse.com in commerce to refer to Plaintiffs business and good


will, to identify and distinguish Plaintiffs from all other businesses, to project and represent
Plaintiffs commercial image, and to identify Plaintiffs goods, services, advertising, and

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 8 of 25

commercial activities. This includes in print, trade literature, advertising, and on the

Internet, including Plaintiffs website and web pages. This also includes Plaintiffs

trademarked and copyrighted divorce real estate education course materials, which Plaintiffs

publish and distribute under DIVORCE THIS HOUSE in commerce as part of their

continuing professional education goods and services, live and virtual. DIVORCE THIS

HOUSE is inherently distinctive and represents Plaintiffs goodwill.

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On December 29, 2008, Plaintiffs first sold in interstate commerce in

California using DIVORCE THIS HOUSE to real estate licensees their divorce real estate
course titled Divorce This House. This live event training took place on March 2-3,
2009 in San Jose, California and attendees earned real estate continuing education credit
hours in consumer protection from the California Department of Real Estate, now known as
the California Bureau of Real Estate. On March 9, 2009, Plaintiffs first sold in interstate
commerce and taught to real estate professionals nationally, its live simulcast, synchronous

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webinars regarding divorce real estate continuing professional education using DIVORCE

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THIS HOUSE.
20.

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From 2014 to present, Plaintiffs have invested significant time, effort, and

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expense in video, audio, software, learning management system, and other technology

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upgrades to develop and deliver their divorce real estate education services, including

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courses via an additional platform: online, on demand, under DIVORCE THIS HOUSE

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and

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divorceTHIShouse.com.

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with

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membership

services

and

marketing

from

Plaintiffs

website,

Since at least September 13, 2008, Plaintiffs have used the following black

and gray logo for DIVORCE THIS HOUSE (the DIVORCE THIS HOUSE Logo) in the
ordinary course of trade and commerce to identify Plaintiffs goods, services, advertising,
and commercial activities:

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 9 of 25

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Murray registered Plaintiffs corporate domain name, collaborative-

continuing-education.com on December 21, 2007 via SiteSell.com which also hosted


Plaintiffs corporate website until July 2014.

Murray registered the domain name

divorcethishouse.com (divorceTHIShouse.com) on January 9, 2008 via SiteSell.com.


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From

January

2008

until

July

2014,

Plaintiffs

domain

name

divorceTHIShouse.com redirected to Plaintiffs corporate domain name and website


collaborative-continuing-education.com hosted by SiteSell.com for search engine

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optimization.

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corporate homepage featured at the top Plaintiffs DIVORCE THIS HOUSE Logo. Since

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July 2014, Plaintiffs website divorceTHIShouse.com has been hosted with managed

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WordPress hosting. On July 21, 2014, Murray transferred the domain name registrar from

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SiteSell.com to GoDaddy.com LLC.

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Throughout this time, the collaborative-continuing-education.com

Plaintiffs operate their business primarily through their corporate web site

featuring the DIVORCE THIS HOUSE Logo.


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To launch DIVORCE THIS HOUSE, Plaintiffs spent over $34,000.00 in

advertising and marketing expenses.

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Defendants Infringing Activities


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Upon information and belief, at all relevant times hereto, the Starks

Defendants sold and promoted divorce real estate goods and services under the infringing
marks DIVORCE THE HOUSE and DIVORCING THE HOUSE.
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Before incorporating Starks Realty, upon information and belief, Starks

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provided divorce real estate goods and services under a so-called unincorporated division,
DIVORCE THE HOUSE.
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28.

Upon information and belief, because the Starks Defendants are direct

business competitors to Plaintiffs for divorce real estate goods and services, their marketing

and trade channels are identical to Plaintiffs regarding the Internet. Additionally, the

parties have overlapping geographic territories including but not limited to California.

Further, the parties target the same consumers, including but not limited to lawyers,

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mediators, real estate licensees, and consumers/divorcing homeowners.


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Upon information and belief, Plaintiffs and Defendant Unhooked Books are

direct business competitors for divorce real estate goods and services in the production of
live event and synchronous webcast continuing professional education events and other
online training directed to real estate licensees and CLE for lawyers as well as publication
and distribution of applicable course materials for event attendees, live and virtual.
Unhooked Books Live Seminars & Webcasts http://unhookedbooks.com/live-seminars/.
Unhooked Books Online Training http://unhookedbooks.com/online-training/.
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When they first met in 2009, Murray and Starks already were direct business

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competitors for divorce real estate goods and services as instructors/public speakers,

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including CLE continuing legal education. Starks knew, via email correspondence with

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Murray from at least August 2009 through January 2010, that Plaintiffs used DIVORCE

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THIS HOUSE and from October 2009 DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR

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SPOUSE in connection with divorce real estate goods and services in commerce, and was

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aware of Plaintiffs domain name, divorceTHIShouse.com.

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Murrays book title, Divorce This House, Not Just Your Spouse, which Murray included

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in her email signature during ongoing email correspondence with Starks from August 2009

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through January 2010.

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Starks also was aware of

Additionally, at Murrays invitation, Starks attended a DIVORCE THIS

HOUSE continuing education course for REALTORS in Murrieta, California October 2021, 2009.

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32.

In or about January 2016, Starks and Unhooked Books published a book with

the infringing title of Divorcing The House, which they recently changed, upon Starks

receipt of a cease and desist letter from Plaintiffs, to Divorce at your Door. After receipt

by Starks and notwithstanding Plaintiffs February 3, 2016 cease and desist letter,

Defendants and each of them have continued upon information and belief to sell and ship to

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consumers and libraries and fulfill wholesale orders to brick and mortar retailers and online
retailers such as amazon.com, copies of the infringing book title, even after April 2016 and
the change of title by Defendants to Divorce at your Door. On page 19 of Starks book
with the infringing title, Starks knowingly, intentionally and willfully used and plagiarized
Plaintiffs trademark, DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE, and divorce
real estate course content under DIVORCE THIS HOUSE with the sentence As these
examples illustrate, its not enough to divorce the unwanted spouse; you should also divorce
the house! On the last, About Laurel Starks page of Starks book with the infringing

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title, Starks expressly solicits speaking engagements in commerce, [Starks] can be

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contacted for speaking engagements regarding divorce real estate goods and services,

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directing prospective live event producers and customers to contact Starks via the infringing

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domain divorcINGTHEhouse.com and LStarks@divorcINGTHEhouse.com.

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Upon learning of the Starks Defendants infringing book title on January 23,

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2016, from this online article http://www.inman.com/2015/12/15/a-real-estate-agents-guide-

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to-handling-divorcing-clients/, Plaintiffs since have discovered that Starks registered the

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following infringing domain names (the Infringing Domain Names):

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divorceTHEhouse.com registered on or about March 8, 2012;

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divorcethehouse.info registered on or about January 20, 2013;

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divorcethehouse.net registered on or about January 20, 2013;


divorcethehouse.org registered on or about January 20, 2013; and
divorcINGTHEhouse.com registered on or about May 22, 2013.

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34.

On January 23, 2016, Murray called the Starks Defendants using their current

business telephone number, left a voicemail message requesting to speak with Starks, and

also completed their online contact form.

Murrays January 23, 2016 voicemail and email messages.

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35.

The Starks Defendants never responded to

Upon information and belief, until 2016 the Starks Defendants redirected

these Infringing Domain Names and each of them to starksrealestate.com/divorce-thehouse, among other Starks Defendants corporate websites.
36.

Starks also has infringed Plaintiffs Marks, and continues to infringe them to

the present time, notwithstanding the February 3, 2016 cease and desist letter from
Plaintiffs, via the Starks Defendants following web pages: starksrealestate.com/divorcethe-house, laurelstarks.com/divorce-the-house and starksrealtygroup.com/divorce-the-house

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(Infringing Web Pages) that solicit CLE and divorce real estate referrals from lawyers,

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divorce real estate

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listings from divorcing homeowners, and featuring infringing web page titles and metadata

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as well as the following PNG image using DIVORCE THE HOUSE as a source identifier

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and respectively titled DivorceTheHouse-StarksRealtyGroup and DivorceTheHouse-

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StarksRealtyGroupSidebar:

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37.

Upon information and belief, Defendants scheduled, marketed, advertised and

sold tickets online featuring Starks as the instructor for divorce real estate live seminars
DIVORCING THE HOUSE (for realtors) [sic] directed to Arizona real estate licensees

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 13 of 25

and DIVORCING THE HOUSE live seminars for continuing professional education

programs directed to Arizona lawyers who could earn CLE continuing legal education for

April 8, 2016 and May 6, 2016, with each live event located in Scottsdale, Arizona along

with synchronous webcast. Also upon information and belief, Defendants included in

marketing and advertising for the April 8, 2016 and May 6, 2016 live event seminars a

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discounted price for the infringing book title as the text book for the divorce real estate
education live events and synchronous webcasts nationally via the Internet.
38.

Upon information and belief, upon receipt of a cease and desist letter from

Plaintiffs, Defendants subsequently cancelled Starks April 8, 2016 and May 6, 2016
DIVORCING THE HOUSE seminars in Arizona and synchronous webcasts.
39.

By a letter dated February 3, 2016, Plaintiffs notified the Starks Defendants of

Plaintiffs legal rights in DIVORCE THIS HOUSE and of the Starks Defendants
infringement of those rights, and requested they permanently cease use of Plaintiffs Marks

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in order to avoid likely confusion with Plaintiffs Marks. Plaintiffs also requested the Starks

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Defendants to cease use and to transfer the Infringing Domain Names to Plaintiffs and

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remove the Infringing Web Pages.

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40.

As the senior user, Plaintiffs have superior rights to Defendants in DIVORCE

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THIS HOUSE and DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE. Plaintiffs

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continuous use of Plaintiffs Marks for related goods and services long predates the Stark

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Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE HOUSE and registration

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of the Infringing Domain Names.

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41.

Defendants utilize DIVORCE THE HOUSE and DIVORCING THE

HOUSE to provide goods and services that are in direct competition to those offered by
Plaintiffs. DIVORCE THE HOUSE and DIVORCING THE HOUSE convey a similar
commercial impression to Plaintiffs DIVORCE THIS HOUSE and DIVORCE THE

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 14 of 25

HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE marks, including through similarities in sound,

appearance and meaning.

a.

For example, Defendants copy Plaintiffs unique feature of the verb,

divorce, with the object, house. Obviously, only lawful marriages (not houses) are subject

to divorce.

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b.

sole modification of tense (e.g. divorcing rather than divorce) and/or article (e.g. the
rather than this) with respect to infringement of DIVORCE THIS HOUSE.

c.

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With respect to infringement of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST

YOUR SPOUSE, Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE directly copies Plaintiffs
mark.
42.

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Additionally, the marks contain the same number of words with the

Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE HOUSE,

the Infringing Domain Names and Infringing Web Pages and meta data is without the

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permission or authorization of Plaintiffs, and Plaintiffs have never licensed or otherwise

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authorized Defendants to use said intellectual property or domain names.


43.

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Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE HOUSE,

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the Infringing Domain Names and the Infringing Web Pages and meta data is likely to cause

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consumer confusion. Consumers are likely to believe that Defendants are authorized to use

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Plaintiffs DIVORCE THIS HOUSE mark, or are affiliated with and have permission to

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offer Plaintiffs goods and services. Furthermore, consumers are likely to assume that

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Plaintiffs and Defendants respective goods and services share a common source.

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valuable goodwill they have built in their DIVORCE THIS HOUSE mark.

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As a result of Defendants conduct, Plaintiffs are losing control over the

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the

Upon information and belief, in 2016 the Starks Defendants redirected both

divorceTHEhouse.com

and

divorcINGTHEhouse.com

domain

names

to

http://unhookedbooks.com/divorcing-the-house/, a sales page on Unhooked Books website

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 15 of 25

from which individuals, including Arizona residents, can purchase books for direct

shipment by Unhooked Books. Also upon information and belief, in addition to changing

the title of the Infringing Book in April 2016, as set forth hereinabove, the Starks

Defendants recently redirected the infringing domain name, divorcINGTHEhouse.com, to

http://unhookedbooks.com/divorce-at-your-door/. Upon information and belief, as of April

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2016 the Starks Defendants have parked all of the other Infringing Domain Names with
GoDaddy, notwithstanding the pending trademark and cybersquatting dispute with Plaintiffs
as of their February 3, 2016 cease and desist letter to Starks and in violation of GoDaddy
terms of service for domain name parking. Upon information and belief, at all times
relevant hereto to present, the Starks Defendants continue to host infringing web page titles
and meta data on the Infringing Web Pages that feature the Starks Defendants offer of
divorce real estate goods and services in commerce that require a California real estate
license directed to consumers/divorcing homeowners as well as CLE directed to lawyers.
46.

15

Upon information and belief, from 2006 through approximately December 15,

16

2015, the Starks Defendants have sold over $120,000,000.00 from more than 1,000 divorce

17

real

18

http://www.inman.com/2015/12/15/a-real-estate-agents-guide-to-handling-divorcing-

19

clients/

20

Upon information and belief, from approximately March 2012 through October 2013,

21

Starks sold millions of dollars in divorce real estate transactions regarding Southern

22

California real property under a so-called unincorporated Divorce THE House division and

23

before Starks incorporated Starks Realty, including lawyer referrals and customer leads

24

from the Infringing Domain Names and the Infringing Web Pages and each of them.

25
26
27

estate

transactions

regarding

Southern

California

real

property.

Thereafter, upon information and belief from approximately November 2013 to the present,
the Starks Defendants sold millions of dollars in divorce real estate transactions regarding
Southern California real property under a so-called unincorporated Divorce THE House

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{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

15

Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 16 of 25

division and after Starks incorporated Starks Realty, including lawyer referrals and

customer leads from the Infringing Domain Names and the Infringing Web Pages.

FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF

Trademark Infringement

(15 U.S.C. 1125(a))

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7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
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(Against All Defendants)


47.

Plaintiffs repeat and reallege each and every allegation contained in the above

paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully set forth herein.


48.

Plaintiffs trademarks DIVORCE THIS HOUSE and DIVORCE THE

HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE have become distinctive of Plaintiffs as a source of
quality goods and services, and have acquired secondary meaning. Plaintiffs own common
law trademark rights in DIVORCE THIS HOUSE and DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT
JUST YOUR SPOUSE and the marks are protectable under 15 U.S.C. 1125(a) and under
common law.
49.

At all relevant times hereto, the Starks Defendants used and/or are using

17

DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE HOUSE, the Infringing Domain Names, the

18

Infringing Web Pages and meta data in competition with Plaintiffs in commerce, and such

19

use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive. Defendant Unhooked

20

Books has actively aided and abetted the Starks Defendants in the adoption and use of the

21

confusingly similar marks and Infringing Domain Names, including but not limited to the

22

redirection in 2016 of divorceTHEhouse.com and divorcINGTHEhouse.com to Unhooked

23

Books website.

24
25
26
27

50.

Defendants acts of trademark infringement were undertaken with knowledge

of Plaintiffs Marks and have been willful, deliberate and in bad faith.
51.

Defendants acts of trademark infringement have proximately caused damage

to Plaintiffs.

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{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

16

Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 17 of 25

52.

Defendants conduct has caused Plaintiffs to suffer damages, in an amount

consisting of Defendants unlawful profits from use of Plaintiffs Marks and, unless enjoined

by the Court, will cause Plaintiffs to continue to suffer, damage to its operations, reputation

and goodwill.

SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF

False Designation of Origin and Unfair Competition

(15 U.S.C. 1125(a))

(Against All Defendants)

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10
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12
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14
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53.

Plaintiffs repeat and reallege each and every allegation contained in the above

paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully set forth herein.


54.

Defendants have been using DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE

HOUSE and the Infringing Domain Names, as well as the Infringing Web Pages and meta
data in connection with their sale, offer for sale and advertising of divorce real estate
services.

DIVORCE THE HOUSE and DIVORCING THE HOUSE, the Infringing

Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and meta data are identical or confusingly similar to
Plaintiffs Marks.
55.

Plaintiffs DIVORCE THIS HOUSE and DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT

JUST YOUR HOUSE trademarks are non-functional and inherently distinctive.


56.

Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE HOUSE,

21

the Infringing Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and meta data constitutes a false

22

designation of origin that is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as

23

to the affiliation, connection, or association of Defendants business with another person, or

24

as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of their goods, services, or commercial activities

25

by another person, in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1125(a).

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27

57.

Defendants conduct their use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING

THE HOUSE, the Infringing Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and meta data in

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{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

17

Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 18 of 25

commerce without authorization or consent by Plaintiffs. Defendants conduct is intended

to divert, and likely will divert, potential customers away from Plaintiffs.

3
4

58.

services that may be provided by Defendants and their affiliated websites.

5
6
7

59.

10
11
12

Plaintiffs Marks.
60.

Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE HOUSE,

the Infringing Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and meta data in connection with their
sale, offer for sale and advertising of competing goods and services with knowledge of
Plaintiffs trademark rights renders Defendants trademark infringement willful.
61.

13
14

Defendants infringement of Plaintiffs Marks, especially in connection with

goods and services identical to those of Plaintiffs core business, dilutes and devalues

8
9

Plaintiffs have no control over the nature and quality of the goods and/or

Defendants conduct has caused Plaintiffs to suffer damages, in an amount

consisting of Defendants unlawful profits in amounts to be proven at trial from use of

15

Plaintiffs Marks and, unless enjoined by the Court, will cause Plaintiffs to continue to

16

suffer, damage to its operations, reputation and goodwill.

17

THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF

18

Cybersquatting

19

(15 U.S.C. 1125(d))

20

(Against Defendant Laurel Starks)

21
22

62.

paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully set forth herein.

23
24
25
26

Plaintiffs repeat and reallege each and every allegation contained in the above

63.

Plaintiffs are the owners of all right, title, and interest in and to DIVORCE

THIS HOUSE and DIVORCE THE HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE. Plaintiff Kelly
Murray also owns and has used the divorceTHIShouse.com domain name since January 9,
2008.

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 19 of 25

64.

Plaintiffs Marks.

65.

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8
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10
11
12
13
14

Plaintiffs Marks are distinctive and were distinctive at the time Defendant

Starks registered the Infringing Domain Names.

5
6

The Infringing Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to

66.

Defendant Starks use of the Infringing Domain Names has, at all times, been

an intentional and willful attempt to profit, in bad faith, from Plaintiffs Marks. Among
other things, (a) Defendant Starks has no trademark or other intellectual property rights in
Plaintiffs Marks or the Infringing Domain Names; (b) in or before August 2009, Defendant
Starks legal name was never DIVORCE THE HOUSE or DIVORCING THE HOUSE,
nor did she use

either as a source identifier, trademark, fictitious business name or

otherwise to commonly identify Starks (c) in or before August 2009, Defendant Starks
never registered nor did she have prior use of the Infringing Domain Names with a bona
fide offering of goods and services, including divorce real estate goods and services; (d)

15

Defendant Starks knowingly and intentionally registered multiple domain names, i.e. the

16

Infringing Domain Names, that all are identical or confusingly similar to Plaintiffs Marks;

17

(e) Starks 2012-13 registration and ongoing use of the Infringing Domain Names was and

18

continues to be in direct business competition with Plaintiffs, Starks knew such conduct was

19

in direct business competition with Plaintiffs, and was not fair use nor otherwise lawful (f)

20

Defendant Starks intentionally diverted consumers from Plaintiffs online location for

21

commercial gain and for the purpose of creating initial interest confusion; (d) Defendant

22

Starks offered the Infringing Domains for sale to Plaintiffs.

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24
25
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27

67.
from

In particular, Defendant Starks has demonstrated bad faith intent to profit

Plaintiffs

mark

by

deliberately

redirecting

divorcINGTHEhouse.com

to

http://unhookedbooks.com/divorce-at-your-door/, her new brand name that she apparently


adopted in or about April 2016 to replace DIVORCE THE HOUSE and DIVORCING
THE HOUSE. Thus, Defendant Starks knowingly, intentionally and in bad faith seeks to

28
{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

19

Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 20 of 25

profit from Plaintiffs Marks by utilizing an infringing domain name to promote her new

Divorce at Your Door brand.

68.

Starks also has demonstrated bad faith intent to profit from Plaintiffs Marks

by deliberately violating real estate licensee advertising regulations of the California Bureau

of Real Estate and statutes of the State of California. Before incorporating Starks Realty,

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7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

upon information and belief, starting in or about March 2012 Starks apparently provided
divorce real estate goods and services under a so-called unincorporated division, DIVORCE
THE HOUSE. Upon information and belief, Starks knowing, intentional, and willful use of
DIVORCE THE HOUSE in the provision of divorce real estate goods and services that also
require a California real estate license violated, and continues to violate to the present,
regulations of the California Bureau of Real Estate and statutes of the State of California
regarding advertising, demonstrating Starks bad faith intent to profit from Plaintiffs mark.
Starks further has demonstrated bad faith intent to profit from the Plaintiffs mark by

15

registering and using the Infringing Domain Names, and using the Infringing Web Page

16

Names, in knowing, intentional, and willful bad faith violation of the National Association

17

of REALTORS mandatory ethics and Standards of Practice, including but not limited to

18

Standards

19

(http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/policies/2007/code-of-ethics-article-12-2007-11-

20

02.pdf)

21

69.

of

Practice

12-10

and

12-12.

As a direct and proximate result of Defendant Starks conduct, Plaintiffs are

22

entitled to the following relief: (a) transfer of the Infringing Domain Names to Plaintiffs;

23

(b) damages consisting of Defendant Starks wrongful profits in amounts to be proven at

24

trial, which currently are not ascertainable; and (c) maximum statutory damages of

25
26
27

$100,000.00 for each of the Infringing Domain Names, for a total amount up to
$500,000.00. Plaintiffs also seek an award of their reasonable attorneys fees and costs
under the exceptional case provision of the Lanham Act, 28 U.S.C. 1117(a).

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{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 21 of 25

FOURTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF

(Common Law Unfair Competition)

(Against All Defendants)

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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

70.

Plaintiffs repeat and reallege each and every allegation contained in the above

paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully set forth herein.


71.

Defendants actions constitute unfair competition under applicable state

common law, in that DIVORCE THE HOUSE and DIVORCING THE HOUSE, as well as
the Infringing Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and meta data, are deceptively similar
to Plaintiffs Marks and domain names and Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE,
DIVORCING THE HOUSE, the Infringing Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and
meta data is creating or increasing confusion between goods and services provided by
Plaintiffs and Defendants, to the detriment of Plaintiffs and the public.
72.

Defendants use of DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING THE HOUSE,

15

the Infringing Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and meta data is likely to mislead

16

consumers as to the separate origin of related goods and services and to damage Plaintiffs

17

goodwill and business reputation.

18

73.

Defendants conduct, as herein alleged, as caused, and unless restrained and

19

enjoyed, will continue to cause irreparable harm to Plaintiffs that cannot adequately be

20

compensated or measured by monetary damages alone. Plaintiffs have no adequate remedy

21

at law. Plaintiffs therefore are entitled to permanent injunctive relief preventing Defendants

22

from continuing to infringe and trade on Plaintiffs Marks.

23
24
25

74.

As a direct and proximate result of Defendants conduct, Plaintiffs have

suffered and will continue to suffer damages in an amount consisting of Defendants


wrongful profits obtained from use of Plaintiffs Marks, to be proven at trial.

26
27
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{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 22 of 25

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for judgment as follows:

A.

Awarding Plaintiffs a preliminary and permanent injunction against

Defendants, their agents, representatives, employees, assigns and suppliers, and all persons

acting in concert or privity with them, from using DIVORCE THE HOUSE, DIVORCING

6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

THE HOUSE, the Infringing Domain Names, Infringing Web Pages and meta data or any
other name or mark or domain name that is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to
deceive with respect to Plaintiffs DIVORCE THIS HOUSE and/or DIVORCE THE
HOUSE, NOT JUST YOUR SPOUSE trademarks, or from otherwise competing unfairly
with Plaintiffs;
B.

Directing the Starks Defendants to transfer to Plaintiffs the domain name

registrations for the Infringing Domains, including but not limited to the following domain
names:

15

divorceTHEhouse.com;

16

divorcINGTHEhouse.com;

17

divorceTHEhouse.info;

18

divorceTHEhouse.net; and

19

divorceTHEhouse.org.

20

C.

Awarding Plaintiffs maximum statutory damages under 15 U.S.C. 1117(d),

21

of $100,000.00 per infringing domain name, for a total of up to $500,000.00 in statutory

22

damages;

23
24
25
26
27

D.

Awarding Plaintiffs damages consisting of Defendants profits derived by

reason of the unlawful acts complained of herein as provided by law;


E.

Awarding Plaintiffs their reasonable attorneys fees, prejudgment interest, and

costs of suit as provided by law; and


F.

Such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

28
{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 23 of 25

1
2
3

JURY DEMAND
Plaintiffs respectfully demand a jury trial on all appropriate issues pursuant to Rule
38(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

4
5

DATED: May 26, 2016.

6
7

URIAS LAW OFFICES, PLLC

/s/ Sharon A. Urias


Sharon A. Urias, Esq.
8585 E. Hartford Drive, Suite 700
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255
Telephone: 480.306.5458
Facsimile: 480.306.5459
Attorneys For Plaintiffs CCECI and Kelly Murray

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{00034295.DOCX; 6 }

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Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 24 of 25

Exhibit 1

Case 2:16-cv-01641-ESW Document 1 Filed 05/26/16 Page 25 of 25

Divorce the house,

TM

not just your spouse

SM

to protect your post-divorce credit score and your family's financial future.
...Whether you keep the house or sell it.
DURING divorce is the best time to prevent real estatetriggered: damaged credit, foreclosure or even bankruptcy
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that cannot be fixed AFTER divorce.
Although the marital home generally accounts for 60%
of a family's net worth, there is nearly no state-prescribed
guidance for divorce real estate - often the most valuable
marital asset.
Because "Appraisal Minus Mortgage" does NOT equal
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Discover critical mistakes in divorce real estate beyond the scope
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post-divorce and their joint mortgage then foreclosed!
One man discovered his EX's $216,700 pre-marital debt became
HIS debt post-divorce as a lien recorded during the marriage against
title to the house he kept!
Even a REALTOR learned paying off home equity debt didn't cancel
the account. Her EX "maxed" it out with $25,000 debt secured
by the house she kept!
Because she kept the house, one woman had to pay $12,000 of her
EX's attorney's fees - even with a property settlement

hold harmless provision!

These and other major property settlement mistakes are often


preventable DURING divorce but are not fixable AFTER.
Mistakes that ruin finances, families and futures for years.
To prevent major real estate mistakes, the solution is simply
MORE/EARLIER:
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from MORE real estate and financial professionals much
EARLIER in your divorce process.

In addition to emotional, legal and financial teams, now divorcing


couples have the benefit of divorce-trained real estate teams
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they need much earlier in the divorce process.

Led by your RCS-D REALTOR


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your divorce real estate team can provide FREE and fee-based information re:
Complete house valuation (especially compared to
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For more information, please contact:

Essential evidence of house value (admissible in court); and


Critical divorce real estate counseling for
divorcing homeowners.
ALL are needed now.
Remember, in divorce real estate sooner is always better!

TM and 2007-2009 www.DivorceThisHouse.com All rights reserved.

REALTOR is a registered trademark of the National Association of REALTORS.