AOL sues competitor to

NEW YORK - AOL is going legal to force an online ad network company called to change its name, citing trademark infringement and unfair competition with its own ad network.

It has asked a district court in Virginia to order to "change its corporate and legal name to one that does not incorporate the term,, or any terms confusingly similar thereto".

AOL owns the domain name, but not, which was bought by a company called ABCSearch early this year from a third party.

ABCSearch soon afterwards rebranded itself, and now AOL is suing to stop it using what it says is the "confusingly similar" name and design to sell the same services that it does.

According to the filing,'s traffic went from 723 unique visitors in February to 23.249 in May, the month after the rebrand.

AOL accuses of having "created circumstances whereby members of the public and members of the relevant trade are likely to be led to incorrectly believe that and its services are authorised by, sponsored by, or affiliated with" AOL.

It also points out that in June the US Patent and Trademark office refused to register the design trademark in part "because it is likely to cause confusion with" AOL's registered design trademarks.

To complicate matters, the domain name is owned by another party, which has just filed a lawsuit against a company that backed out of a $1.4m deal to buy it.

AOL does not own the domain name, only the design trademark, but is still attempting to register as a trademark.

It has called its unit in the past.

According to, this probably derailed the sale of by owner Marcos Guillen to Directi and Skenzo.

AOL's legal filing can be found here.

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