Domain name is at the center of a family business dispute.
The domain name Ape.com is the subject of a lawsuit just filed in U.S. District Court in Florida – Key West Division.
The dispute is a weird one, and it sounds like the Scheu family doesn’t get together for Thanksgiving.
Scheu & Scheu, Inc. filed the lawsuit (pdf) against husband and wife Casey Scheu and Veronica Scheu, as well as the company Ape.com LLC. They threw in Network Solutions for good measure.
I’m assuming that Scheu & Scheu was a family business given the names of the defendants. Based on the timelines, it doesn’t appear they were the founders, though.
According to the suit, Casey Scheu was VP and then President for the plaintiff from 2000-2015. Veronica Scheu was CFO and then VP from 2000-2015.
Scheu & Schue, Inc. claims that it bought the domain name Ape.com in 2001 and used it for its circuit repair business, which it says has been operating under the name “APE” and “A.P.E” since 1977. Oddly, the suit claims the company “utilized the names and marks” ape.com since 1991. I’m not sure how it did this, since the domain was registered in 1994 and the suit claims it didn’t acquire the domain ape.com until 2001.
But that’s not central to the case. The complaint is that Casey Scheu and Veronica Scheu created a new company called APE.com, LLC in 2011 without the knowledge of the company. They then took over ownership of the domain.
DomainTools whois records show that the administrative contact for Ape.com switched to Casey Scheu of Ape.com, LLC in December 2010. Ape.com, LLC was switched to the actual registrant in May 2012.
Scheu & Schue, Inc. claims the defendants have used the domain (and others) to divert customers. It is suing for unfair competition, trademark infringement, violating the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, and a handful over other claims.