Domain name owner sues media company after receiving cease & desist letter.
Semoran LLC, which owns the web site and domain name FloridaWeekly.com, has filed a lawsuit against a Florida media company in response to that company’s request for the FloridaWeekly.com domain name.
Semoran received a cease & desist letter from MacFarlane Ferguson & McMullen, which represents Florida Media Group, LLC. It appears that Florida Media Group recently launched a newspaper that uses the domain name Florida-Weekly.com. That is, of course, a horrible domain name for any purpose. Many people will not type the hyphen and end up at FloridaWeekly.com.
FloridaWeekly.com was registered in 2003, long before Florida Media Group’s launch of Florida-Weekly.com earlier this year. But that didn’t stop Florida Media Group from asserting that Semoran was infrining on its trademark. The cease & desist letter demanded that Semoran hand over the domain name for no more thena $1,000.
Technically, this doesn’t qualify as a reverse hijacking case unless Floria Media Group files a UDRP. But it’s basically the same thing. A company realizes it doesn’t own what it wants, so it tries to bully a small guy without deep pockets. But in this case Semoran scrapped together enough money to hire a lawyer. Semoran filed a lawsuit against Florida Media Group to get it to drop its pursuit. Semoran is not asking for any money.
On the FloridaWeekly.com web site, Semoran says, “We felt like someone moved into our neighborhood and then they told us that they wanted our house for a fraction of its true value or they would knock it down.”
The Internet Commerce Association led Semoran in the right direction in this case.