Lawsuit

Domain owner sues after legal threat – Domain Name Wire

SiteTools files lawsuit after potential domain buyer threatens legal action.

Picture of scales with the word "lawsuit" placed on top in a box

Many lawyers throw around legal threats to get domain names for their clients. They must make sure that they are on solid legal ground and prepared to take the case to court. Here’s an example of why.

SiteTools, Inc. filed a federal lawsuit (pdf) against private equity group Bansk Group LLC after the latter threatened SiteTools over its bansk.com domain name.

The plaintiff registered the domain in 2013. It says it registered it as a typo from banks.com, and it forwarded it to financial websites.

Bansk Group was only established in 2019. With bansk.com already registered, it suited BanskGroup.com as a domain name.

A representative of the company reached out to SiteTools about purchasing bansk.com. It did not identify on whose behalf it was acting or make a legal threat. SiteTools said the domain is not for sale but will consider offers. Bansk Group’s representative offered $10,000, which SiteTools declined.

On November 2, the representative sent another offer of $10,000 and threatened legal action if the offer was not accepted.

So SiteTools struck first. It filed a lawsuit Nov. 12 in California court. By filing there, it could fight the battle in SiteTools’ backyard, which is also part of the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has plenty of case law on the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) that would favor SiteTools.

Site Tools is asking for declaratory judgment of non-cyber settlement, declaratory judgment of non-infringement, cancellation of Bansk Group’s mark, and statutory damages of up to $200,000.

Attorneys John Berryhill and Michael A. Long represent SiteTools.

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