SiteTools files lawsuit after potential domain buyer threatens legal action.
Many attorneys throw around legal threats to get domain names for their clients. They had better make sure they’re on solid legal ground and are willing to take the case to court. Here’s an example of why.
SiteTools, Inc. has filed 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 of banks.com, and it has forwarded it to financial sites.
Bansk Group wasn’t formed until 2019. With bansk.com already registered, it settled for BanskGroup.com as a domain name.
A representative of the company reached out to SiteTools about buying bansk.com. It did not identify who it was acting on behalf of or make a legal threat. SiteTools said the domain wasn’t for sale but would 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 wasn’t accepted.
So SiteTools struck first. It filed a lawsuit on November 12 in court in California. By filing there, it can fight the battle in SiteTools’ backyard, which is also part of the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has plenty of case law around the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) that would favor SiteTools.
Site Tools is asking for declaratory judgment of non-cybersquatting, 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 are representing SiteTools.
[Update: in July 2023, the court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction.]