A company Fancaster, Inc. sued Comcast (which has agreed to buy NBC, awaiting regulatory approval) in federal court in New Jersey back in 2008 over the domain Fancast.com under the Lanham Act, for trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition, trade name infringement and cybersquatting.
A court hearing was held yesterday on the case where the court granted the Plaintiff’s motion to amend their complaint, to seek damages for FanCast.com VOD product which seems to have been added since the original complaint was filed, but the facts of the case caught my eye.
Here are the relevant facts laid out by the court:
“Plaintiff has provided its products and service under its trade name, Fancaster, Inc. and its service mark, FANCASTER.
Defendant provides cable television, internet, and digital voice products and services throughout the country.
In July 2006, Plaintiff launched the web site www.fancaster.com, which provides content related to “sports, sports fans, broadcasting” and other related information.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has been aware of Plaintiff’s business and its intellectual property rights since as early as July 2006 when Plaintiff’s President, Mr. Kreuger, discussed possible business relationships with Defendant.
So fancaster.com according to the court documents went to Comcast to discuss an idea using Fancaster and apperately sold them on the idea and Comcast goes out an immediately registers or acquires the domain Fancast.com to do it themselves.
Moreover according to the lawsuit did Comcast go out and register Fancast.com but the also registered typos of Fancaster which was trademark.
The suit alleges that Comcast also registered: www.phancast.com, www.fancas.com, www.fancast.com, www.fancastic.com,
So a few lessons to be learned here.
Large corporations, that are the first to complain about domainers infringing on their intellectual properties will engage in the same conduct when it suits their needs.
Cover you ass. Corporations still don’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to domains. To have a business and trademark branded around the term Fancaster.com and to have no secured the shorter natural version of their brand is plain silly. Fancaster should have secured fancast. fancasts.com Fancasters.com and fancasting.com
Neither company has apparently learned their lesson either. Neither Fancaster.com or Comcast own the domain Fancasts.com, that honor belongs to Buy Domains.com