Vulcan Golf, LLC v. Google Inc. et al

Filing 89

First AMENDED complaint by Vulcan Golf, LLC against all defendants (Foote, Robert)

Download PDF
Vulcan Golf, LLC v. Google Inc. et al Doc. 89 Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 1 of 94 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION VULCAN GOLF, LLC, JOHN B. SANFILIPPO & SON, INC., BLITZ REALTYGROUP, INC., and VINCENT E. "BO" JACKSON, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Lead Plaintiffs, v. GOOGLE INC., OVERSEE.NET, SEDO LLC, DOTSTER, INC., AKA REVENUEDIRECT.COM, INTERNET REIT, INC. d/b/a IREIT, INC., and JOHN DOES I-X, Defendants. Civil Action No. 07 CV 3371 JUDGE MANNING CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT (DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL) FIRST AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT IN LAW AND EQUITY VULCAN GOLF, LLC, JOHN B. SANFILIPPO & SON, INC. ("JBSS"), BLITZ REALTY GROUP ("BLITZ"), and VINCENT E. "BO" JACKSON ("JACKSON"), Lead Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, by and through their undersigned Counsel of Record, complain and allege, upon information and belief, except as to those paragraphs applicable to the named Lead Plaintiffs, which are based on personal knowledge, against Defendants GOOGLE INC. ("GOOGLE"), OVERSEE.NET ("OVERSEE"), SEDO.COM, LLC ("SEDO"), DOTSTER, INC. (also known as) REVENUEDIRECT.COM ("DOTSTER"), and INTERNET REIT, INC., doing business as IREIT, INC. ("IREIT"), as follows: Dockets.Justia.com Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 2 of 94 I. NATURE OF THE ACTION 1.This case involves a shockingly deceptive Internet-based modern day racketeering scheme ("Deceptive Domain Scheme") that is being intentionally carried out by Defendants through the use of sophisticated and proprietary technology/software that allows them to generate and transact in billions of dollars in ill-gotten advertising and marketing revenue annually from blatant and intentional violations of federal and state laws that govern the domain name system (DNS), Internet-based commercial/business practices, intellectual property and trademark rights, and related laws. In a nutshell, the scheme uses illegal domain names on the Internet to generate and transact in billions of dollars of revenue, at Lead Plaintiffs' and the putative Class Members' expense. 2. The illegal domains are referred to herein as "Deceptive Domains" and are monetized domain names that are the same or confusingly similar to Lead Plaintiffs' and the putative Class Members' venerable, valuable, protected, distinctive and famous, registered and common law names, marks, trade names, logos, famous names, and other distinctive/valuable marks ("Distinctive and Valuable Marks"). Deceptive Domains are central to Defendants' massive scheme to generate and transact in money from the knowing diversion of and monetization of Internet traffic. 3. The Deceptive Domain Scheme consists of, but is not limited to, the following actions: (1) the deliberate registration, trafficking, license, use and monetization of Deceptive Domains; (2) the deliberate hijacking, redirecting, dilution and infringement of Distinctive and Valuable Marks; (3) the deliberate creation and promotion of an illegal aftermarket for the resale of Deceptive Domains; (4) the deliberate tasting and kiting of Deceptive Domains; (5) the deliberate cybersquatting and typosquatting; (6) the derivation, use and generation of illegally Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 3 of 94 obtained money/revenue/profit from their illegal and deceptive action; (7) the investment and transaction in the money and property obtained from their illegal actions; (8) the illegal use and intentional diminution of Lead Plaintiffs' and the putative Class Members' valuable property rights and interests; and, (9) the other related actions and omissions intended to generate revenue from the unauthorized, improper, and illegal use/infringements/dilution/misappropriation of Lead Plaintiffs' and the putative Class Members' property. 4. Defendants' scheme is being conducted through strategically contrived automated software/programs that mask the massive and intentional scale of the second-by-second, 24-hour, 7-day/week, scheme that produces ill-gotten money from Internet advertising and marketing generated by the use of Deceptive Domains that are identical to, substantially similar to, or confusingly similar to Distinctive and Valuable Marks, for their own commercial gain. 5. Defendants use semantics software programs to understand the "meaning" of Distinctive and Valuable Marks, and what goods and services are associated with those marks, and then register/license/traffic-in/use Deceptive Domains to generate revenue from advertisers that pay for advertising, usually competitor or identical or substantially similar products/services, in blatant violation of federal and state law. The process of generating revenue from the use of Deceptive Domains is referred to as "monetization" of domains. 6. Defendants have the practical ability to add filtering devices to their software to block Deceptive Domains without degrading the system's ability to provide advertising on appropriate legal and non-infringing domains, but willfully turn a blind eye, and simply refuse to implement said filtering and blocking devices. 7. Defendant Google is integral to, controls, and directs the Deceptive Domain Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 4 of 94 Scheme, in part, in the following ways: a. Defendant Google creates, devises, contracts for, arranges, places, collects revenue from, monitors and otherwise controls almost all of the revenue-generating, advertising and marketing involved in this lawsuit ("Google Advertising"); Defendant Google contractually restricts parking companies, domain registrants, licensees and aggregators from placing any advertising or marketing, other than Defendant Google Advertising, on their sites as a term of participation; Defendant Google created a hierarchical system that requires small domain portfolio owners/licensees and aggregators to license and monetize their sites through the parking companies and to share revenue with parking companies; Defendant Google collects, deposits, and distributes all of the advertising revenue from the advertisers; Defendant Google determines which parking companies, domain registrants, domain licensees, and domain aggregators can monetize domains, monetize Deceptive Domains, and/or otherwise participate in the Deceptive Domain Scheme; Defendant Google determines which domains are monetized, and with which advertisements; and Defendant Google's proprietary software is used to generate advertising content, create advertising, direct and place advertising, transact in the money generated from the advertising (from the collection of revenue from advertisers through to its parking companies, domain distribution through the chain of registrants/aggregators), generate and distribute reports related to the monetization of domains, as well as all other aspects of the Deceptive Domain Scheme. In order to effectuate the Deceptive Domain Scheme, Defendants utilize and take b. c. d. e. f. g. 8. commercial advantage of the extensive and well established Defendant Google "networks," consisting of millions of individuals and entities located throughout the world involved in Internet advertising and marketing. 9. Defendants have actual and constructive knowledge of the illegal actions alleged herein and materially contribute to the illegal actions alleged herein, by among other things, Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 5 of 94 contriving, designing, inducing, encouraging, facilitating and producing the networks, functions, and programs that result in the proliferation of the infringements. 10. Defendants receive and will continue to receive direct financial benefits from the Deceptive Domain Scheme. 11. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' unlawful conduct and illegal conspiracy, Lead Plaintiffs and putative Class Members have suffered injury to their businesses and property, suffered economic harm, and continue to be otherwise injured and damaged by Defendants' ongoing illegal conduct set forth herein. 12. Lead Plaintiffs and putative Class Members also have, and will continue to have, their reputation and value of their Distinctive and Valuable Marks diminished/diluted as a direct result of Defendants' ongoing Domain Scheme and other unlawful activity alleged herein. 13. Therefore, Lead Plaintiffs bring this Fourteen (14) Count class action complaint pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on their own behalf and on behalf of a class (the "Class") of similarly situated entities and individuals against Defendants under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.; the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(d); trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. 1114(1); false designation of origin under 15 U.S.C. 1125(a); dilution under 15 U.S.C. 1125(c); Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act violations under 18 U.S.C. 1962(c) and (d) ("RICO"); the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS 505/2; the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, ILCS 510/2; and the identical or substantially similar consumer fraud and fair trade practices acts established by statute or common law in each of the fifty states. II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 6 of 94 14. This Court has original federal question jurisdiction over this action. This Complaint is brought against Defendants under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.; the AntiCybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 US.C. 1125(d); trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. 1114(1); false designation of origin under 15 U.S.C. 1125(a); dilution under 15 U.S.C. 1125(c); Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act violations under 18 U.S.C. 1962(c) and (d) ("RICO"), to recover treble damages and the costs of this suit, including reasonable attorney's fees, for injunctive and equitable relief, and for the damages sustained by Lead Plaintiffs and the members of the Class by reason of Defendants' violations of federal law as more fully set forth hereunder. 15. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1337, and 1338, 18 U.S.C. 1961, 1962, 1964, and other applicable federal statutes. This Court has supplemental jurisdiction over the claims in this Complaint that arise under state statutory and common law pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1367(a) because the state law claims are so related to the federal claims that they form part of the same case or controversy and derive from a common nucleus of operative facts. 16. This Court has in personam jurisdiction over each of the Defendants, as each was engaged in federal cybersquatting violations and trademark infringements that were directed at and/or caused damages to persons and entities residing in, located in, or doing business throughout the United States, including the Northern District of Illinois. 17. This Court has in personam jurisdiction over each of the Defendants, as each was engaged in RICO violations, committed RICO predicate acts, was involved in a RICO conspiracy, that was directed at and/or caused damages to persons and entities residing in, Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 7 of 94 located in, or doing business throughout the United States, including the Northern District of Illinois. 18. Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 22, 18 U.S.C. 1965(a), and 28 U.S.C. 1391(b) and (c) because, during the Class Period, Defendants resided, transacted business, were found, or had agents in this district, and because a substantial part of the events giving rise to Lead Plaintiffs' claims occurred, and a substantial portion of the affected interstate trade and commerce described below has been carried out, in the Northern District of Illinois. 19. this action. III. PARTIES A. 20. Lead Plaintiff Vulcan Lead Plaintiff VULCAN GOLF, LLC ("Vulcan Golf"), is an Illinois Limited No other forum would be more convenient for the parties and witnesses to litigate Liability Company with its principal place of business located at 2701 DuKane Drive, St. Charles, Illinois 60174. 21. Vulcan Golf was founded in 1995 to design and manufacture high performance innovative game improvement golf clubs for serious and recreational golfers. 22. Vulcan Golf owns the trademark VULCAN and trade name Vulcan Golf (collectively the "Vulcan Marks"). The Vulcan Marks were publicized as of November 1993 and have been featured on the Internet, in various forms of media advertisements and in stories published throughout the United States. 23. Vulcan Golf offers and provides a full array of golf and related products and Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 8 of 94 services under the Vulcan Marks. Vulcan Golf uses the Vulcan Marks in connection with the provision of golf clubs, golf balls, golf lessons, custom golf club fitting and other golf accessories. 24. The Vulcan Marks are widely known and recognized among consumers and members of the golfing community. 25. The Vulcan Marks are unique and distinctive and, as such, designate a single source of origin. 26. Vulcan Golf's main Internet website using the Vulcan Marks and featuring information on many of the products and services of Vulcan Golf can be accessed via the domain name "www.VulcanGolf.com" which has been registered and used since May 1997. 27. The Vulcan Marks are valid and enforceable trademarks. Vulcan Golf owns the following United States trademark registration for its Vulcan Marks: Trademark: VULCAN; Registration No. 1973892; Goods and Services Int'l Class 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: golf clubs; First Use: November 8, 1993. Registration Date May 14, 1996 28. Plaintiff Vulcan has been personally injured in its business and property as a direct and proximate result of the Deceptive Domain Scheme and violations set forth herein. The injury and damage suffered is economic and non-economic in nature and includes, but is not limited to: diversion of business; confusion; dilution of distinctive and valuable marks; loss of revenue; and other such related injury and damage. B. Lead Plaintiff JBSS 29. Lead Plaintiff, John B. Sanfilippo & Sons Inc. ("JBSS"), is a Delaware Corporation with its principal place of business located at 1703 N. Randall Road, Elgin, Illinois Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 9 of 94 60123. 30. products. 31. JBSS owns trademarks including "Fisher" (collectively the "JBSS Marks"). The JBSS was founded in 1991 to manufacture and distribute a full line of edible nut JBSS Marks were publicized as of 1995 and have been featured on the Internet, in various forms of media advertisements and in stores published throughout the United States. 32. JBSS offers and provides a full array of nuts and related products and services under the JBSS Marks. JBSS uses the JBSS Marks in connection with the sale of a complete product line of ingredient nuts, including pecans, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews and pine nuts. 33. 34. of origin. 35. JBSS's main Internet website using the JBSS Marks and featuring information on The JBSS Marks are widely known and recognized among consumers. The JBSS Marks are unique and distinctive and, as such, designate a single source many of the products and services of JBSS can be accessed via the domain name "www.Fishernuts.com" which has been registered and used since at least 1995. 36. The JBSS Marks are valid and enforceable trademarks. JBSS owns the following United States trademark registration for its JBSS Marks: Trademark FISHER; Registration No. 1100900; First Use: 1937. Registration Date 04/11/77. 37. JBSS's primary corporate website is located at "www.FISHERNUTS.COM" and at "www.JBSSINC.COM". 38. Plaintiff JBSS has been personally injured in its business and property as a direct Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 10 of 94 and proximate result of the Deceptive Domain Scheme and violations set forth herein. The injury and damage suffered is economic and non-economic in nature and includes, but is not limited to: diversion of business; confusion; dilution of distinctive and valuable marks; loss of revenue; and other such related injury and damage. C. Lead Plaintiff BLITZ 39. Lead Plaintiff Blitz is an Illinois Corporation with its principal place of business located in Geneva, Illinois 60134. 40. Blitz was founded in 2006 and engages in the real estate business. Blitz offers real estate brokerage and sales services for commercial and residential real estate. Blitz has a logo and promotes its services with flyers, signs, business cards, Internet/website, and other such related methods. 41. Blitz maintains a website at www.blitzrealtygroup.com as an integral part of its business operations. Blitz uses its website to display properties for sale in the local area, and to introduce its company and services to prospective and current customers. 42. Blitz has valid, enforceable, protected and valuable legal rights to the use of the names, "Blitz", "Blitz Realty" and "Blitz Real Estate" (collectively the "Blitz Marks") in the local northern Illinois area. Blitz has used its names and logo since at least 2002 in commerce, for business purposes, in connection with its real estate operations located in Illinois, as well as, having been featured on the Internet, in various forms of advertisements. 43. 44. Blitz offers and provides a full array of real estate services under the Blitz Marks. The Blitz Marks are widely known and recognized among the community in northern Illinois. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 11 of 94 45. of origin. 46. The Blitz Marks are unique and distinctive and, as such, designate a single source Blitz's main Internet website using the Blitz Marks and featuring information on many of the products and services of Blitz can be accessed via the domain name www.blitzrealtygroup.com which has been registered and used since 2006. 47. After Blitz's Distinctive and Valuable Mark became famous, Defendants monetized Deceptive Domains (including www.blitzrealty.com) to unlawfully generate revenue from infringing/using Blitz's Distinctive and Valuable Mark. 48. The gross and blatant intent of Defendants, Google and Oversee, to make and transact in money from directly infringing/monetizing Blitz's Distinctive and Valuable Mark, is illustrated by their bold placement of competitor advertisements for Geneva, Illinois real estate services on the deceptive domain www.blitzrealty.com. 49. Defendants Google and Oversee exclusively use the deceptive domain www.blitzrealty.com for monetization purposes, insofar as the only content associated with the Deceptive Domains are revenue-generating advertisements. 50. The predatory, deceptive, and illegally infringing conduct of Defendants, Google and Oversee, toward Blitz (a small, local real estate company) demonstrates the egregious and widespread implementation of the Defendants' Deceptive Domain Scheme. 51. Like Blitz, the Class includes tens of thousands of small businesses and commercial entities throughout the United States that have property rights in Distinctive and Valuable Marks that Defendants boldly and wantonly infringe on by their second-by-second, hour-by-hour, daily Internet scheme. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 12 of 94 52. Plaintiff Blitz has been personally injured in its business and property as a direct and proximate result of the Deceptive Domain Scheme and violations set forth herein. The injury and damage suffered is economic and non-economic in nature and includes, but is not limited to, diversion of business, confusion, dilution of Distinctive and Valuable Marks, loss of revenue, and other such related injury and damage. D. Lead Plaintiff BO JACKSON 53. 54. 55. Lead Plaintiff Vincent E. "Bo" Jackson is a famous person. Bo Jackson resides in the Northern District of Illinois and is an Illinois resident. Bo Jackson was born November 30, 1962, and became famous at least on or about 1985 when he won the 1985 Heisman Trophy as the most outstanding college football player in the United States. 56. Bo Jackson was a first round draft pick (1st picked) into the National Football Bo Jackson was a multi-sport professional athlete who played both League ("NFL"). professional football and professional baseball. 57. 58. Bo Jackson played running back for the Los Angeles Raiders NFL football team. Bo Jackson played left field and designated hitter for the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago While Sox, and the California Angels of the American League in Major League Baseball. 59. Bo Jackson was the first ever athlete to be named an All-Star in two major professional sports, and is considered on information and belief to be the best "two-sport athlete" in the history of sports. 60. As a multi-sport professional football player and baseball player, Bo Jackson has Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 13 of 94 been featured in numerous commercial advertisements. 61. In 1989 and 1990, Bo Jackson achieved national commercial fame through the "Bo Knows" advertising campaign (Advertising Nike, Inc. cross-training shoes that had his name). 62. Bo Jackson has, and continues, to generate revenue from his fame (sale of memorabilia, paid advertisements, etc.). 63. 64. Bo Jackson has a valid and enforceable legally protectible interest in his name. Bo Jackson has suffered and continues to suffer injury to his person, business, and property as a direct and proximate result of the Deceptive Domain Scheme and violations set forth herein. The injury and damage suffered is economic and non-economic in nature and includes, but is not limited to: diversion of business; confusion, damage to reputation; dilution of distinctive and valuable famous name; loss of revenue; and other such related injury and damage. E. Deceptive Domains Infringing Lead Plaintiffs' Distinctive and Valuable Marks 65. Defendants taste, register, license, own, traffic in, monetize and/or otherwise utilize and control Deceptive Domains that are identical and/or substantially similar to Lead Plaintiffs, including but not limited to the following: Domain Name VolcanGolf.com wwwVulcanGolf.com Defendant(s) Date Of Use VULCAN GOLF LLC Dotster, Google Cited in Complaint, Deleted, Reregistered and Used After Complaint Filed Dotster, Cited in Complaint, Deleted, ReOversee.net, registered and Used After Complaint Google Filed Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 14 of 94 VulcnaGolf.com VulcanGolfClubs.com Dotster, Google Oversee.net, Google VulcanGolfTechnology.com Oversee.net, Google VulconGolf.com Oversee.net, Google VulganGolf.com Dotster, Google VulgonGolf.com Dotster, Google Vulcanogolf.com Sedo, Google Registered and Used After Complaint Filed Registered and Used After Complaint Filed, Deleted, Registered and Used After MTD Filed, Currently in use. Registered and Used After Complaint Filed Registered and Used After Complaint Filed Registered and Used After MTD Filed Registered and Used After MTD Filed Registered and Used Prior To and After Complaint Filed JOHN B. SANFILIPPO & SON, INC. wwwfishernuts.com Dotster, Google fishersnuts.com IREIT, Google fisherpeanuts.com Dotster, Google fisherpeanut.com Dotster, Google fishernutrecipes.com Dotster, Google fischernuts.com Oversee.net, Google wwwjbssinc.com Oversee.net, Google johnsanfilliposons.com Dotster, Google BO JACKSON nobojackson.com Sedo, Google aintnobojackson.com Sedo, Google BLITZ REALTY GROUP BlitzRealty.com Oversee.net, Google F. The Putative Class 66. The Class of Plaintiffs (collectively, the "Class") consists of the owners of the Distinctive and Valuable Marks which have been infringed by one or more of the Defendants through the Deceptive Domain Scheme described herein. G. Defendants Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 15 of 94 67. Defendant Google is a publicly held corporation that was incorporated in California in September 1998 and reincorporated in Delaware in August 2003. Its headquarters is located at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California 94043. Defendant Google's website is located at www.Google.com. In the year 2006, Defendant Google earned $10.6 Billion in revenue, a large percentage of which was earned from its advertising enterprise. 68. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Google because it conducts substantial business within this district, has engaged in acts or omissions within this judicial district causing injury, has engaged in acts outside this judicial district causing injury within this judicial district, and has engaged in conduct related to the unlawful activities at issue in this action causing injury and harm in this judicial district, and/or has otherwise made or established contacts with this judicial district sufficient to permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction. 69. Defendant Oversee.net is a resident of California with its Corporate Headquarters at 818 West 7th Street, Suite 700, Los Angeles, California 90017. 70. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Oversee because it conducts substantial business within this district, has engaged in acts or omissions within this judicial district causing injury, has engaged in acts outside this judicial district causing injury within this judicial district, and has engaged in conduct related to the unlawful activities at issue in this action causing injury and harm in this judicial district, and/or has otherwise made or established contacts with this judicial district sufficient to permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction. 71. Defendant Sedo, LLC, is a division of Sedo GmbH of Cologne, Germany. One Broadway, 14th Floor Defendant Sedo has it principal place of business located at: Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 16 of 94 72. As of February 1, 2007, Defendant Sedo actively managed a database of over 7,000,000 domain names, including at least 3,000,000 undeveloped parked domain names. 73. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Sedo because it conducts substantial business within this district, has engaged in acts or omissions within this judicial district causing injury, has engaged in acts outside this judicial district causing injury within this judicial district, and has engaged in conduct related to the unlawful activities at issue in this Complaint causing injury and harm in this judicial district, and/or has otherwise made or established contacts with this judicial district sufficient to permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction. 74. Defendant Dotster is a Delaware corporation located at 8100 NE Parkway Dr., Suite 300, Vancouver, Washington 95622. Dotster acts as both a domain name registrar and also owns a large portfolio of domain names many of which are Deceptive Domains. 75. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Dotster because it conducts substantial business within this district, has engaged in acts or omissions within this judicial district causing injury, has engaged in acts outside this judicial district causing injury within this judicial district, and has engaged in conduct related to the unlawful activities at issue in this action causing injury and harm in this judicial district, and/or has otherwise made or established contacts with this judicial district sufficient to permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction. 76. Defendant Ireit is a Delaware corporation having its principal place of business in Houston, Texas. As of May 12, 2007, Defendant Ireit owns and actively manages over 400,000 domain names many of which are Deceptive Domains. 77. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Ireit because it conducts Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 17 of 94 substantial business within this district, has engaged in acts or omissions within this judicial district causing injury, has engaged in acts outside this judicial district causing injury within this judicial district, and has engaged in conduct related to the unlawful activities at issue in this action causing injury and harm in this judicial district, and/or has otherwise made or established contacts with this judicial district sufficient to permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction. 78. Defendants Oversee, Sedo, Dotster, and unnamed co-conspirators, are referred to collectively herein as the "Parking Company" Defendants. 79. Each Defendant has acted in concert, and is independently profiting and deriving commercial gain from the illegal conduct alleged herein. H. Unnamed Co-Conspirators 80. On information and belief, at all relevant times, other "Parking Companies," registrants, and domain registrars, the identities of which are unknown to Lead Plaintiffs, participate in the Deceptive Domain Scheme engaging in "Domain Tasting" and "Domain Kiting," (as defined herein) referred to herein as John Does I-X (collectively, the "Coconspirators"), willingly conspired with other Defendants in the Deceptive Domain Scheme and in their fraudulent, illegal, and deceptive actions, including but not limited to, RICO violations, and various state law violations. All averments herein against named Defendants are also averred against these unnamed co-conspirators as though set forth at length. I. Defendants' Agents 81. The acts alleged to have been done by Defendants were authorized, ordered or done by their directors, officers, agents, employees, subsidiaries, or representatives while actively engaged in the management of each of the Defendants' affairs, for Defendants' Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 18 of 94 commercial gain on behalf of and for the benefit of Defendants, as co-conspirators, and against Lead Plaintiffs and the Class. 82. Each of the Defendants acted for itself and by and through its local agents, who act on the Defendants' behalf. As such, each Defendant is responsible for all acts or omissions of any of its agents which relate to allegations contained herein. The acts complained of herein have been within the actual or apparent authority of the Defendants, have been for their benefit, and have been ratified by Defendants. IV. DEFINITIONS 83. For purposes of this Complaint, the following terms will be deemed to have the following meanings: a. Address Bar: as used in this Complaint, means the text box used to enter a website's address in a web browser. On the web browser Internet Explorer, the Address Bar is identified by the word "Address." The Address Bar allows an Internet user to manually type in the specific website the user wishes to visit. The Address Bar is also known as the Location Bar in Netscape. b. Click: as used in this Complaint, means: the action of an Internet user in selecting ("clicking on") a hyperlink, button, or advertisement. c. Cybersquatting: as used in this Complaint, means: the practice of registering, licensing, trafficking in, using, and/or monetizing domain names usually based on prominent Distinctive and Valuable Marks or corporate names without any right or legitimate interest in such marks or names. d. Deceptive Domains: as used in this Complaint, means: a domain that is licensed, used and/or traffic in for commercial gain, and is identical to or confusingly similar to a Distinctive and Valuable Mark. e. Distinctive and Valuable Marks: as used in this Complaint, means: venerable, valuable, distinctive, famous, registered or common law trademarks, trade names, logos, famous names, corporate names and other such distinctive/valuable marks. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 19 of 94 f. Domain: as used in this Complaint, means: a unique alphanumeric address that consists of a host name and at least a top-level domain (TLD), that is registered though the Domain Name System. g. Domain Forwarding: as used in this Complaint, means: configuring a website such that when a user requests that website, the user is forwarded onwards to some other site at a different domain name. h. Domain Kiting: as used in this Complaint, means: the practice of registering a domain name, returning that domain name within five (5) days to the original domain registrar for a full refund, and then re-registering that same domain name to avoid paying the domain registration fee. i. Domain Names: as used in this Complaint, means: a textual identifier registered within the Domain Name System. A domain name comprises two or more components, each separated by a period. The right-most component is the top-level domain, such as .com or .org. Most domain names are registered directly within a top-level domain, e.g. google.com. Domain names consist of letters, numbers, periods, and hyphens, but no other characters. j. Domain Name System ("DNS"): as used in this Complaint, means: the system used to translate alphanumeric domain names into Internet Protocol numbers. k. Domain Registrars: as used in this Complaint, means: an organization, such as Network Solutions, that registers domains within top-level domains. Persons that seek a domain name can obtain one from a domain registrar. l. Domain Tasters: as used in this Complaint, means: persons involved in the practice of Domain Tasting. m. Domain Tasting: as used in this Complaint, means: the practice of domain registrants registering a domain name to assess its profitability for the display of online advertising. Via the tasting procedure, a registrant may return a domain name within five days for a full refund. Domain tasters typically return domain names that they project to be unprofitable. n. Google Network: as used in this Complaint, means: (1) the advertisers participating in the Google AdWords Program or otherwise contracted with Google for advertising and marketing services; (2) the Parking Company Defendants; (3) the third party Domain registrants, licensees and aggregators that enter into agreements with Defendant Google for the monetization, through Google advertisements, of domains under their license/control; and (4) Google AdSense Partners. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 20 of 94 o. Google Adsense for Domains Program: as used in this Complaint, means: the technology, systems, and processes that Google developed, formulated, controls and uses to operate the displaying of Google advertisements on the domain names in the Google Adsense for Domains Network. p. Google Adsense for Domains Network: as used in this Complaint, means: the millions of domain names using the Google AdSense for Domains Program, which Google controls and manages. q. Google Advertising: as used in this Complaint, means Internet/electronic advertising and marketing (CPC, PPC, banner, pop-up, pay-per-impression, etc) that advertisers pay Defendant Google to design, place, effectuate, direct and/or otherwise control. It is Internet/electronic advertising that is under the direction and control of Defendant Google. r. Internet Protocol ("IP") addresses: as used in this Complaint, means: a unique address consisting of four numbers that uniquely identify a computer on the Internet. s. Landing Page: as used in this Complaint, means: the specific page that an Internet user reaches after clicking on a link. t. Masked Redirection / Framed Forwarding / Stealth Forwarding: as used in this Complaint, means: a method or system for preventing a user's web browser from accurately reporting the true origin of the content the user is viewing. Through such methods, a user can request one domain name and see that address in the browser's Address Bar, even as the user actually is shown content from a different destination. u. Monetize / monetizataion: as used in this Complaint, means: the practice of using a domain name for commercial gain by generating revenue from Internet advertising located on a web page. v. Parked Domains: as used in this Complaint, means: a domain which is being monetized through the use of an advertising service. w. Parking Companies: as used in this Complaint, means: a company that aggregates numerous domain names from individual domain name registrants and contracts with an advertising service to license and monetize those domain names. x. Typosquatting: as used in this Complaint, means: a form of cybersquatting, aimed at registering domain names confusingly similar to Distinctive and Valuable Marks or corporate names. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 21 of 94 y. Undeveloped Site/Domain: as used in this Complaint, means: a site or domain that does not contain any content or contains less than 10% nonadvertising content. z. Website ("site"): as used in this Complaint, means: a collection of web pages or other materials available on the World Wide Web. V. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 84. Internet users are well-accustomed to "domain names" which identify computers on the Internet and the websites available on those computers. To reach a website a user types that site's domain name into the user's web browser. 85. Each domain name must be unique, even if it differs from another domain name by only one character (e.g., "vulcangolf.com" is different from "volcangolf.com" or "wwwvulcangolf.com"). 86. 87. 88. companies: A domain name is really just your address on the Internet. It's where people can find you, and it serves as your online identity. Businesses typically register domain names with their company name and sometimes also register their product names. Individuals often register family names or names that have a personal interest to them. Domain names have two parts: the label and the extension, or top-level domain, separated by a `dot.' In NetworkSolutions.com, `NetworkSolutions' is the label and `com' is the top-level domain. 89. A significant number of domain names are inadvertently misspelled by Internet A domain name can be registered to only one entity, the "domain registrant." A domain registrant must pay an annual fee to a registrar for the domain name. As described by Network Solutions, one of the preeminent domain registration users, creating a large market for "typo" domain names that exploit and monetize typo traffic at the mark holder's expense. This practice, known as typosquatting, is estimated to cost mark Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 22 of 94 holders millions of dollars each year in lost revenues and fraud. A. General Background--Defendant GOOGLE 1. 90. Defendant Google's Operations Defendant Google creates, develops, sponsors, promotes, maintains, manages, and directs the largest single online marketing/advertising business in the world. 91. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, Defendant Google generated approximately 99% of its annual revenue from its advertisers through the Google AdWords Program and AdSense Network (See 2006 Google 10K at 20, 38 and 40). 92. Aggregate paid clicks on Google Network sites increased by 65% from year-end 2005 through year end 2006 (See 2006 Google 10K at 43). 2. 93. Defendant Google's AdWords Program and the AdSense Network Defendant Google utilizes its AdWords Program and AdSense Network in effectuating the Deceptive Domain Scheme described herein. 94. Defendant Google AdWords Program is an automated auction-based advertising program that places advertisements on Google-owned/licensed/or otherwise controlled domains, including those in the Google AdSense Network. 95. Since approximately January 2002, Google AdWords advertisers have paid Defendant Google for advertisements on a CPC/PPC basis ( See 2006 Google 10K at 38). That is, advertisers pay Defendant Google each time an advertisement is clicked. 96. Google offers advertisers a number of other types of Internet advertising and marketing, with varying payment options. 97. The Google AdSense Network consists of: (1) Google AdSense for Search Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 23 of 94 partners' websites (Aol.com, Ask.com., etc.); (2) Google AdSense for Content partners' websites, which include NewYorkTimes.com and FoodNetwork.com; and (3) Google AdSense for Domains Network partners' domain names, which are the millions of additional domain names Google controls and manages via direct contracts with Domain registrants, aggregators, and the Parking Company Defendants (who aggregate domain portfolios, and in some cases, also own domains). 98. Defendant Google's strategic search partnerships, partnerships with the Parking Company Defendants, and a well-developed network of domains, enable Google to "offer extensive search and content inventory on which advertisers can advertise." (See 2006 Google 10K at 7). 3. 99. Google AdSense for Domains Network Google created, designed and implemented the Google Adsense For Domains Program and the Google AdSense for Domains Network. 100. Through the AdSense for Domains Network, Google partners with Domain registrants, the Parking Company Defendants and others, and has millions of domains under its direct or indirect license, use, control, and management, including Deceptive Domains. 101. Defendant Google, utilizing sophisticated software, processes the said domains in its system and monetizes said domains with revenue-generating Defendant Google Advertisements. 102. Defendant Google controls the domains via contracts directly with large domain holders and through contracts with the Parking Company Defendants who aggregate domains from smaller domain portfolios, and in some cases, own large portfolios of domain names Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 24 of 94 themselves. 103. When Defendant Google contracts directly with a domain owner, Defendant Google acts as a Parking Company, providing its Adsense for Domains Program directly to the domain owner. 104. Defendant Google supplies a Defendant Google-owned testing environment for Adsense For Domains partners and instructs domain owners or domain licensees on how to implement the Adsense For Domains Program. 105. Defendant Google directs its partners in the Defendant Google's Adsense for Domains Network to redirect the traffic from the domain names they own and/or control to Defendant Google's AdSense for Domains Program. 106. Defendant Google processes the domain names in the Defendant Google AdSense for Domains Network through Defendant Google's sophisticated semantic technology. 107. Defendant Google's semantic technology analyzes and understands the meaning of domain names. 108. Defendant Google generates the HTML code to place its targeted Defendant Google AdWords advertisements on the domain names. 109. HTML refers to "Hypertext Markup Language," a language used for the creation of web pages. 110. Defendant Google's HTML contains paying Defendant Google advertisers, such as pay-per click advertisers, and related ad categories, which when clicked on bring up more Defendant Google advertisers. 111. Defendant Google and the Parking Company Defendants collaborate in the Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 25 of 94 placement of advertisements on domains and in the design/optimization of the landing pages associated with those domains. 112. When a visitor clicks on one of the pay-per-click ads, Defendant Google, the domain owner, and/or the Parking Company Defendants and/or another third party, share in the revenue Defendant Google collects from the advertiser. 113. To encourage Internet users to click, Defendant Google, and in some instances other Parking Company Defendants, use targeting solutions that intelligently select the most relevant ads and categories for the domain names. 114. Defendant Google's semantic technology and targeting solutions increase the click through rate (CTR) and Defendant Google's pay-per-click revenue. 115. Defendant Google augments its semantic technology with manual and automated optimization techniques. 116. Defendant Google provides comprehensive online per-domain reporting, to help Domain registrants, aggregators, and Parking Company Defendants analyze their portfolios, and advanced popular categories of revenue-generating domain names. 117. Defendant Google represents to Domain registrants, aggregators, and Parking Company Defendants that they will maximize revenue from parked domains through participation in Defendant Google's AdSense for Domains Program. More specifically, Defendant Google expressly promises owners/licensees/aggregators/parking companies that Google will provide sage advice to optimize revenue from parked domains. 118. Domain registrants, aggregators, and Parking Company Defendants redirect the traffic from users typing in the domain names using "masked" (also known as "stealth") Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 26 of 94 redirection which hides the destination URL. 119. Defendants use redirection, framing, masking, or other methods to prevent or deter even sophisticated users from identifying or confirming Defendant Google's role. 120. Defendant Google then processes the domain name and returns either a formatted HTML webpage for each domain that contains the Defendant Google Advertisements and related ad categories, or an XML feed containing the Defendant Google Advertisements. XML stands for "extensible mark-up language," another programming language used in the creation of websites. 121. Defendant Google's AdSense for Domains partners can either display the Defendant Google-generated full page HTML or include it, unaltered, in a frame. 122. Further, if Defendant Google's HTML page is displayed in a frame, Defendant Google controls the look and design of the partner frame. 123. When using masked redirection, the actual Defendant Google destination URL is concealed from the user who continues to only see the domain name which the user typed in the address bar. 124. For larger partners, such as the Parking Company Defendants, Defendant Google offers a proprietary XML feed of the AdWords contextual ads and related searches which are displayed on the domain names. 125. domains. 126. Google Defendant Google processes the Deceptive Domain traffic through several names, including, but not limited to: googlesyndication.com; Defendant Google AdSense for Domains is only for undeveloped/parked domain Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 27 of 94 appliedsemantics.com; oingo.com, apps5.oingo.com; and, domains.googlesyndication.com. 127. 128. Defendant Google assigns each domain partner its own identification code. Using each partners' unique identification code, Defendant Google's automated systems identify and provide domain-by-domain reporting that includes: which partner licensed the domain to Defendant Google; how many page views each domain gets; how much money each domain generates from clicks on the ads; and, how many unique users each domain gets. 129. Defendant Google provides this data to Defendant Google AdSense for Domains Network partners on a domain-by-domain report. 130. Prior to acceptance and participation in the AdSense for Domains Network, Defendant Google reviews all domains in the Defendant Google AdSense for Domains Network. 131. Defendant Google is aware of the identity of every domain that participates in its advertising networks, or otherwise contains Defendant Google advertising. 132. On an ongoing basis, Defendant Google reviews and monitors every domain that shows Defendant Google advertisements. 133. Defendant Google analyzes, evaluates, determines, designs, controls and maintains advertisements on all participating domains. 134. Defendant Google exclusively manages relationships and communications with the advertisers who whose ads appear on participating domains. 135. Defendant Google contracts, bills, collects, and distributes all revenue generated from its advertisements placed on domains, including but not limited to advertising revenue generated on Deceptive Domains. 136. Defendant Google distributes, divides, and/or otherwise shares the revenue with Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 28 of 94 domain registrants, aggregators, parking companies, defendants and others, according to its agreements with said entities. 137. Only Defendant Google is allowed to change any of the advertising data Defendant Google provides via the HTML page (if the domain is hosted by Defendant Google) or XML feed to domains. Domain registrants/licensees/aggregators/parking companies or any of the Parking Company Defendants are not allowed to change any of the advertising data Defendant Google provides via the HTML page or XML feed. 138. Defendant Google has direct control and authority over the participation of all domain names in itse AdSense for Domains Network, including the Deceptive Domains, and Defendant Google has the ability to block any domain from displaying Defendant Google advertisements. 139. Defendant Google and all of the Parking Company Defendants knowingly monetize and utilize Deceptive Domains for commercial gain. 140. Domains. 141. Defendant Google uses its extensive international advertising and marketing All Defendants knowingly generate revenue from monetization of Deceptive networks to actively seek out, promote, encourage, solicit, and induce participation of Domain registrants/licensees/aggregators/parking company defendants in their advertising network. B. 142. General Background -The Parking Company Defendants For purposes of this Complaint, Defendants Oversee, Sedo, and Dotster are referred to collectively as the "Parking Company Defendants." 143. Each Parking Company Defendant is in the business of, registering domains, Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 29 of 94 licensing domains, parking domains, monetizing domains, aggregating domains, auctioning/reselling domains, brokering domains and/or coordinating, facilitating and offering solutions for monetization of domains, with many of those domain names being Deceptive Domains. 144. Each Parking Company Defendant has knowingly and intentionally engaged in the Deceptive Domain Scheme, as set forth herein, and has derived commercial gain from their participation. 145. Defendant Google and the Parking Company Defendants contrived, participated in, and implemented a scheme where small domain portfolio owners cannot directly participate in Defendant Google's AdSense for Domains Network, but are required to utilize a parking aggregator, such as one of the Parking Company Defendants. 146. If a small domain portfolio owner seeks to monetize its domain name portfolio, it must go through one of the Parking Company Defendants in order to monetize through the Google Network. 147. Defendant Google, Parking Company Defendants and/or the Domain registrants enter into agreements where Defendant Google and the Parking Company Defendants share advertising/marketing revenue generated on parked domains. 148. The Parking Company Defendants enter into license agreements with the Domain registrants for the license and rights to control, monitor, maintain, use and place advertising on their domains, including Deceptive Domains. 149. Defendant Parking Companies enter into agreements with Defendant Google and license to Defendant Google the rights to control, monitor, maintain, use and place advertising Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 30 of 94 on all of the domains under the Parking Company's control, including Deceptive Domains. 150. Defendant Google and the Defendant Parking Companies conspired to engage in and transact in money derived from the Deceptive Domain Scheme alleged herein. 151. Defendant Google requires "exclusivity" and "loyalty" from the Parking Company Defendants, and the other participants in its advertising networks. 152. occurs: a. b. The Parking Company Defendant redirects the domains through to Defendant Google; Defendant Google processes the domains through the Defendant Google AdSense for Domains Program, utilizes semantics and other proprietary programs/software to analyze the meaning of the domain names, analyzes the Internet traffic to said domain (identity of, volume, etc.), and identifies/selects revenue maximizing advertisements from the Defendant Google AdWords program to be placed on the domains; Defendant Google then returns the results to the domains via XML feed; Defendant Google and the Parking Company Defendants then share the revenue generated at each domain from advertising; Defendant Google provides each Parking Company Defendant with complete statistics on each domain name, including revenue, clicks and visitors per day; The Parking Company Defendants share revenue with the Domain registrants; and The Parking Company Defendants provide the Domain registrants with activity reports for each domain. Once the Parking Company Defendants license a domain, the following generally c. d. e. f. g. 153. The Parking Company Defendants have access to semantics software and other technologies that allow them to identify Deceptive Domains. 154. The Parking Company Defendants knowingly refuse to identify or attempt to Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 31 of 94 identify all the Deceptive Domains and/or to utilize software and technology available to identify all of the Deceptive Domains. 155. The Parking Company Defendants intentionally taste, register, and otherwise assist Domain registrants in procuring Deceptive Domains for the express purpose of monetization with Defendant Google advertisements. 156. The Parking Company Defendants typically instruct Domain registrants to do URL forwarding using frames, a practice commonly known as "framed forwarding, masking, or stealth." Such forwarding further impedes identification of the parties responsible for the Deceptive Domain. 157. Each Parking Company Defendants actively traffic in, uses and/or licenses Deceptive Domains, in furtherance of the Deceptive Domain Scheme alleged herein. 158. The Parking Company Defendants intentionally and knowingly register Deceptive Domains through the use of proprietary methods/tools by which they can determine the domain names that Internet users are attempting to access, but which domain names have not been registered by any entity, and they then register these recurring mishits or mistypes. 159. The Parking Company Defendants engage in typosquatting, in furtherance of the Deceptive Domain Scheme alleged herein. 160. The Parking Company Defendants engage in cybersquatting and cyberpiracy, in furtherance of the Deceptive Domain Scheme, alleged herein. 161. The Parking Company Defendants cause popups or popunder advertisements on the Deceptive Domains and receive money for each popup or popunder displayed, in furtherance of the Deceptive Domain Scheme alleged herein. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 32 of 94 162. Defendant Google has a close relationship with the Parking Company Defendants and sends representatives to attend, and sponsor, conferences put on by Parking Company Defendants. 163. Defendant Google and the Parking Company Defendants participate in trade organizations and informal associations in furtherance of their conspiracy. 164. Defendant Google acts as a "Featured Sponsor" for invitation-only conferences attended by Parking Company Defendants and individuals who own Deceptive Domains. VI. THE DECEPTIVE DOMAIN SCHEME 165. All Defendants conspired to commercially profit/gain and transact in money derived from the Deceptive Domain Scheme, set forth in detail in the allegations herein, including, but not limited to, the following: a. Intentionally and deceptively registering, licensing, monetizing and utilizing Deceptive Domains that are identical or confusingly similar to or dilutive of the Lead Plaintiffs' and other members of the Class' Distinctive and Valuable Marks; Intentionally and deceptively redirecting Internet traffic to Defendants' Deceptive Domains that contain "pay-per-click/cost-per-click" (herein "PPC" or "CPC") or similar HTML links/advertising; Utilization of semantics programs, algorithms, statistical tools, and other software designed and intended to maximize revenue by "intelligent placement" of Internet advertisements on Deceptive Domains, as well as identifying and facilitating revenue maximizing Internet traffic redirection; Redirection of Internet traffic to paid HTML links/advertising, and away from the legal and rightful owners of Distinctive and Valuable Marks; Defendants' use of false and misleading WhoIs domain registration data in an attempt to conceal their identities and wrongful conduct; Defendants' knowing and intentional use of Lead Plaintiffs' and the Class' b. c. d. e. f. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 33 of 94 Distinctive and Valuable Marks for the purpose of Defendants' own commercial gain; g. h. Defendants' knowing creation of an illegal domain aftermarket for Deceptive Domains; Intentionally and knowingly causing confusion, dilution and misuse/misappropriation of Lead Plaintiffs' and other members of the Class' Distinctive and Valuable Marks; and Intentionally conspiring to generate, collect, distribute, and otherwise transact in illegally gained money. i. 166. Each of the named Defendants, and the other unnamed Co-conspirators, knowingly and intentionally engage in the Deceptive Domain Scheme set forth herein for the purpose of directly profiting and unjustly obtaining revenue/money/commercial profit/gain, that they could not otherwise obtain, but for the illegal and criminal acts of infringement, dilution, diminution, misuse, misappropriation, unauthorized association, and other unauthorized use of Lead Plaintiffs' and the Class' Distinctive and Valuable Marks. 167. Defendants' common purpose in registering, licensing, using, and monetizing Deceptive Domains, and otherwise engaging in the Deceptive Domain Scheme alleged herein, is to profit from the confusion between the Deceptive Domains and the Lead Plaintiffs' and the Class' Distinctive and Valuable Marks. 168. Defendants have a primary financial interest in the exploitation of Plaintiffs' and the Class Members' distinctive and valuable marks. 169. alleged herein. 170. Defendants facilitate, encourage, promote, allow, enable and otherwise permit the Defendants are the primary beneficiaries of the infringements and illegal conduct illegal conduct alleged herein, in the course of their businesses. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 34 of 94 171. Defendants maintain the right, power and ability to control, edit, alter, modify and maintain the software used in the Deceptive Domain Scheme. 172. Defendants fail to exercise their policing obligations to the fullest extent, fail to utilize and implement available filtering and blocking technologies, and otherwise have engaged in a pattern of direct and intentional misconduct, or willful blindness of their actions related to the Deceptive Domain Scheme, infringing activities, and other unlawful conduct alleged herein. 173. Defendants control and participate in the supply of the illegal revenue-generating services, mechanisms, technology and programs necessary to engage in the Deceptive Domain Scheme, through which the Defendants and third parties infringe the Distinctive and Valuable Marks of Lead Plaintiffs and the Class. 174. Each Defendant, through its participation in the Deceptive Domain Scheme alleged herein, has directly engaged in and/or aided and abetted in the illegal conduct alleged herein. A. 175. Use, License, Registration and Monetization of Deceptive Domains Defendants have knowingly and intentionally manipulated the Internet domain name system for illegal commercial gain by registering, using, trafficking in or licensing infringing Deceptive Domains, including, but not limited to, mistyped domain names (i.e., wwwvulcangolf.com) and misspelled domain names (i.e., volcangolf.com). 176. Defendants are each the authorized licensee of one or more of the Deceptive Domains utilized in the Deceptive Domain Scheme, as alleged herein. 177. Defendant Google and the Parking Company Defendants all directly, knowingly, and intentionally monetize Deceptive Domains, for their own commercial profit/gain. Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 35 of 94 178. Defendants monetize the Deceptive Domains by allowing their participation in Defendants' advertising networks and programs (i.e., AdSense for Domains Program and AdSense for Domains Network), and by causing Deceptive Domains to display Google advertisements. For example, Defendant Google knowingly and intentionally allows tens of thousands of blatantly infringing "www" domain names into the Defendant Google AdSense for Domains Network. A "www" domain name is a domain name that starts with www but omits the period (".") that separates "www" from the remainder of the domain name. 179. The sole purpose of registering a "www" Deceptive Domain is to capture the Internet users who forget to type the period (".") between the "www" and the domain name. A user who types in "wwwvulcangolf.com" is attempting to reach "www.vulcangolf.com" but forgot to type the period (".") between "www" and "vulcangolf.com." 180. "www" Deceptive Domains are obvious and easy to identify as illegal trademark infringements. Nonetheless, Defendants register, use, traffic in, and license infringing "www" Deceptive Domains. 181. The use of "www" Deceptive Domains to forward unsuspecting users to different websites was specifically addressed and identified by Congress as a deceptive practice when it passed the ACPA. 182. Another example of how Defendant Google monetizes blatantly infringing Deceptive Domains is through the participation in "com" domain names. 183. Like the "www" Deceptive Domains, the "com" Deceptive Domains capture the Internet users who forget to type the period ( ".") between a domain name and the "com" suffix. The following is a small sample of "com" Deceptive Domains: Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 36 of 94 bedbathandbeyondcom.com; chevycom.com; chryslercom.com; cocacolacom.com; discovercreditcardcom.com; disneylandcom.com; disneyworldcom.com; ebaumsworldcom.com; espncom.com; fordmotorscom.com; geicocom.com; homedepotcom.com; ibmcom.com; ikeacom.com; jetbluecom.com; jcpennycom.com; kohlscom.com; kmartcom.com; mcdonaldscom.com; musiciansfriendcom.com; nascarcom.com; oldnavycom.com; pizzahutcom.com; randcom.com; saabcom.com; scottradecom.com; travelocitycom.com; usairwayscom.com; volkswagencom.com; xangacom.com. 184. All of the aforementioned "com" Deceptive Domains have been monetized by Defendant Google through the Defendant Google AdSense for Domains Program in furtherance of the Deceptive Domain Scheme as alleged herein. 185. Defendant Google further monetizes blatantly infringing Deceptive Domains through the participation of "http" domain names in the AdSense for Domains Network. 186. Like the "www" and the "com" Deceptive Domains, the "http" Deceptive Domains capture the Internet users who forget to type the period (".") between "http" and the domain name when trying to access websites of Lead Plaintiffs and the Class. 187. The following is a small sample of "http" Deceptive Domains that have been httpaarp.com, httpabc.com; httpabcgames.com; httpabckids.com; httpabcnews.com; httpamericanexpress.com; httpamsouthbank.com; httpautotrader.com; httpbankofamerica.com; httpbellsouth.com; httpbestbuy.com; httpblackplanet.com; httpbordersbooks.com; httpbratz.com; httpcareerbuilder.com; httpcapitalone.com; httpcapitolone.com; httpcarmax.com; httpcartonnetwork.com; httpcartoonetwork.com; httpcartoonnetwork.com; httpchevrolet.com; httpchevy.com; httpcircuitcity.com; httpcisco.com; httpciti.com; httpcitibank.com; httpciticard.com and httpciticards.com. 188. Defendants know that registering misspellings and typographical variations of websites is deceptive. monetized by Defendant Google: Case 1:07-cv-03371 Document 89 Filed 09/18/2007 Page 37 of 94 189. Defendant Google's Webmaster Guidelines, located at http://www.Google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769, specifically criticize the use of misspellings, by stating in pertinent part: "Quality guidelines...These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here (e.g. tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known websites)." In practice, Defendant Google widely ignores its supposed guidelines. 190. Contrary to the guidelines referenced in the preceding paragraph, Defendant Google actively monetizes Deceptive Domains for commercial profit/gain. 191. Defendant Google aligns its goals squarely between Defendant Google and its Defendant Google AdSense for Domains Network partners, making the user experience positive while generating revenues for

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.


Why Is My Information Online?