BitTorrent files its own intellectual property lawsuit
Friday, May 18th, 2012
File sharing company files IP lawsuit over trademarks.
BitTorrent (and especially its users) are familiar with intellectual property lawsuits. But usually they’re on the receiving end.
Now the tables are turned. BitTorrent, Inc. has filed a federal lawsuit in California against BitTorrent Marketing GMBH for trademark infringement and cybersquatting.
According to BitTorrent, Inc. founder Bram Cohen, he first became aware of the defendant when it contacted him in 2003 and asked for permission to register the Bittorrent.de domain name. Cohen refused. The defendant went ahead and registered a lot of related domain names (including the .de domain) and managed to secure trademark registrations for the BitTorrent mark in Germany and Europe. When BitTorrent, Inc. tried to get its own trademarks in Europe, the defendant filed a petition to oppose BitTorrent, Inc’s trademark applications.
BitTorrent, Inc initiated litigation in Germany against BitTorrent Marketing GMBH in 2010. Now BitTorrent is bringing a case against the firm in the U.S.
According to Cohen’s lawsuit, the German company has registered hundreds of domain names that include “Bittorent”, such as the typo bitorrent.com, bittorrent.net, and bittorrent.de.
BitTorrent, Inc also says that the defendant has a history of bad activity in file sharing. It alleges the defendant has tried to usurp trademarks owned by other file sharing companies such as Kazaa and Morpheus.
Cohen’s company is suing for federal trademark infringement and cybersquatting, among other claims. On the cybersquatting claims it is asking for $100,000 per infringing domain name. Both the defendant and the respondent have filed cybersquatting claims in the past, but not against each other.
You can read the lawsuit here (large PDF).