Heidi Powell wants her namesake dot-com and she's suing to get it.
Heidi who? Heidi Powell of course, the legendary fitness coach from Flagstaff, Arizona. What do you mean you've never heard of her? The Heidi Powell.
Perhaps this will help: we're not talking about 60-year-old marketing consultant Heidi Powell who registered HeidiPowell.com back in 2005 and lives with her husband in Washington state.
We are instead talking about the Heidi Powell who was called Heidi Solomon at the time the domain was registered, who changed her name to Powell in 2010, registered it as a trademark this April, and then sued the first Heidi Powell in July after she refused to sell her domain to her. That Heidi Powell. She's a treasure.
The second Heidi has been on television, and as a result she is more important than anyone else named Heidi Powell – something that the first Heidi would do well to consider as this case winds itself through the Arizona courts.
According to Second Heidi – let's call her Narcissist Heidi – she twice offered to buy the domain name, but First Heidi didn't understand her obligations. As a result, the parking page on heidipowell.com was, according to Narcissist Heidi, trademark infringement and "cyber piracy."
"Upon information and belief, The Powells have used the Domain Name for the purpose of personally and financially benefitting from the goodwill associated with the HEIDI POWELL trademark," the lawsuit [PDF] reads. "Defendants are not engaging in a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name; but rather are misleadingly diverting consumers who have become familiar with the HEIDI POWELL mark through extensive media exposure."
In other words, Narcissist Heidi appears to believe there is a "do you know who I am?" law that allows people with a larger public profile to assume control of other people's possessions.
Daddy always said yes
She is, of course, wrong, but in order to stop her domain name being pulled away from her, First Heidi Powell responded, accusing Narcissist Heidi of bringing the lawsuit in bad faith and of attempting "reverse domain name hijacking" – where people, typically companies, use legal threats to scare people into handing over names they want because they know they don't have a legitimate case against them.
Worse though, First Heidi had the audacity to countersue, claiming abuse of the legal process – something that could end up with a legal judgment going against Narcissist Heidi.
As you can imagine, that did not please Narcissist Heidi, especially as the weight-loss guru had, very reasonably, promised First Heidi that if she could prove she had used the domain name to send email before her glorious, wonderful career had taken off, she would let her keep the name.
Unbelievably, First Heidi refused again to give Narcissist Heidi what she wanted, with her lawyers making the ridiculous claim that "it is not a defendant's burden to disprove wild, unsupported theories."
They even dared to criticize her in a filing [PDF] asking for the case to be dismissed. "This is a case that never should have been filed," the shameful argument was made [PDF]. "Plaintiff is a reality television 'celebrity' who apparently changed her name to 'Heidi Powell' in 2010" – did you see those quotation marks?! Narcissist Heidi is a real celebrity, more of a celebrity than you will ever be.
"There is only one plausible explanation for why Plaintiff brought this action," the filing continues, "to attempt to intimidate Defendants into relinquishing the heidipowell.com domain name that they have properly owned for more than a decade."
And that left her with no choice but to bring up First Heidi's bankruptcy in 2012 and note that she had failed to list the domain name as an asset and so ownership of the name was dubious.
If that wasn't bad enough, she also caught First Heidi and her lawyers using the fact they were being sued by her to get publicity for themselves – on the back of her name!
From the latest filing [PDF]:
"Plaintiff soon learned that defense counsel decided to use an aggressive litigation stance to generate publicity for themselves and their law firm. Defense counsel are representing Defendant on a pro bono basis, presumably because Plaintiff is a fitness celebrity, and the case, therefore, had the potential to be high profile."
There is literally nothing that happens around Heidi Powell that isn't about Heidi Powell. We wonder what she'll do when the judge throws the case out. Whatever it is, it won't be pretty. ®