Sued: A saga of being sued by a multi-million dollar corporation over online space
I'm being sued by a large corporation who wants my domain.
Not because it's theirs or that I've obtained it illegally, immortal or unjustly, but because they want it. Someone found my URL by some means - which I can only assume were they misspelled the word which they intended and accidently happened upon the domain in question.
Cosco Management, Inc., and Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc., related and affiliated companies, together own the rights of Baby on Board (yes, the Baby on Board) - and are suing me for the domain - babyonbored.net, which I own for a client / friend. Many of us parents know this company very well as they are the "go to" company for all things baby. Cosco Management Inc. are in relation to: Cosco, Safety 1st (I have two strollers, signs, safety items, toy, etc.), and Eddie Bauer (which I have two, 3-1 car seats) -- all bought and paid for with my own hard-earned money.
I was sent legal documents on Monday May 10, 2010 describing the Complaint.
1. Identical and or confusingly similar to their domain
2. I am currently running ads and selling a product similar to that which they have manufacturing and selling for over 26 years.
Respondent is using the <babyonbored.net> domain name to divert Internet users to a commercial website that displays links to third-party websites, including links to direct competitors of Complainant that offer identical goods and services to those of Complainant. Furthermore, upon information and belief, Respondent derives commercial benefit from these diversions due to click-through fees from the links on the website.
3. I am purposefully confusing potential clients and diverting them from the trademarked brand and therefore stealing their business.
The <babyonbored.net> domain name is a website that prominently features a generic search engine with numerous links to various goods and services that are identical to Complainant’s goods and services. Upon information and belief, Respondent receives commissions for diverting Internet users to third-party websites via the search engine and links located at Respondent’s website. Additionally, Respondent’s use of Complainant’s distinctive BABY ON BOARD® mark in the Respondent’s domain name creates a likelihood of confusion and suggests an attempt to attract Internet users to Respondent’s website for Respondent’s commercial gain.
"Evidence" presented to show that I am willfully diverting Internet users to third-party websites via the search engine and links located on my site is this:
Exhibit A is apparently a representation of *my* website and *my* ads which I am was using to deceive my fellow bloggers, online shoppers, and internet users. This, my friends, is, in actuality, a screenshot of who.is, which is a search engine-like website for those looking for domain availability. This is not my website - as you can see on the top right corner of the page which displays the URL of the actual page. The ads in question - which I've enlarged for you - do not belong to me, but to who.is. The search capabilities - which allegedly divert Internet users also belong to who.is.
I am under the impression that the person who found this "website", created this lawsuit and entered said "website" into evidence is of limited Internet knowledge based on the fact the page they were presenting did not even point to the domain in question.
The domain is was vacant prior to it being taken from me and placed in a "holding account" by Name.com, who claims that:
Per ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) policy, registrars such as Name.com are required to lock the domain name till the conclusion of the UDRP proceedings.
and the domain still points to a page similar to this:
This page is simply a placeholder for which I receive no compensation.
The Complainant is merely trying to take the domain and is not currently looking for any monetary compensation (unless the Panel does not vote in their favour as their lawyer has informed me):
Of course, if for some reason the Panel does not transfer the domain name to our client, we reserve the right to take any action or demand which may be made on behalf of our client in the event that further action is required to terminate infringement of our client’s rights in its mark, including seeking relief and damages in a court of law.
But get this: "babyonboard.com" is registered, and has been since 1998, yet has never had a website affiliated with it in relation to Cosco Management Inc. (only a pregnancy p0rno site shows up). "babyonboard.com", "babyonboard.net", "babyonboard.org", "babyonboard.info", "babyonboard.us", "babyonboard.biz", "babyonboard.in", "babyonboard.mobi" are all registered but are not active which makes me question how I am diverting traffic and potential consumers.
The irony of it all is that I've been a HUGE supporter of their products. I have played them up to just about everyone I know. I have purchase countless Safety 1st items for myself and friends, I encouraged my parents to buy a similar car seat to the ones we have, and I have even used their damn "Baby on Board" signage.
And, you're probably wondering, Why make such a big deal over this? Let them take the domain and be done with it!? But it's not about the domain. This is about being cyber bullied by a big corporation just because they feel they have the right to something: the proverbial school yard bully taking what they want, using intimidation tactics to boot.
It upsets me that a corporation of this magnitude would take these measures. I mean, I would understand if the domain I owed had a similar name, sold baby merchandise and made a substantial income, but babyonbored.net is really none of those things.
At this point, I just have to sit back and wait to see what happens; there's really nothing to do until ICAAN responds to the Complainant and it's decided if the domain is taken from me and given to Cosco Management Inc.
This article has been cross-posted from Samantha's personal blog, temporarily me dot com