AOL sues competitor to Advertising.com

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

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

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

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

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

AOL accuses Advertise.com of having "created circumstances whereby members of the public and members of the relevant trade are likely to be led to incorrectly believe that Advertise.com 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 Advertise.com design trademark in part "because it is likely to cause confusion with" AOL's registered Advertising.com design trademarks.

To complicate matters, the Ad.com 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 Ad.com domain name, only the design trademark, but is still attempting to register Ad.com as a trademark.

It has called its Advertising.com unit Ad.com in the past.

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

AOL's legal filing can be found here.

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