WebEx Slaps Citrix with Cyber-Squatting Suit

 
 
By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-02-03
 
 
 
A week after entering the remote-access market, WebEx Communications has sued one of its top competitors for allegedly cyber-squatting.

WebEx Communications Inc. announced Thursday that it has filed a federal lawsuit against Citrix Systems Inc., accusing the competitor of intentionally registering a series of Internet domain names that contain the name of WebExs new service.

San Jose, Calif.-based WebEx last week moved into the remote PC access market with the launch of its MyWebExPC service, which provides access to its service at the Web site mywebexpc.com.

Citrix, through its Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Citrix Online division, sells a remote PC service called GoToMyPC, which it acquired in 2003.

In the lawsuit, WebEx cites 10 domain names containing variations on its product and company name, a WebEx spokesman said. Those domains include webexpc.com, mypcwebex.com, mywebexfreepc.com and mywebexpro.com.

WebEx further alleges that Citrix registered those domains on the same day that the WebEx remote PC service was launched. The 10 domains are only a beginning, and WebEx is investigating additional domains that it believes violate cyber-squatting and trademark laws, a WebEx spokesman said

Citrix officials did not return a request for comment on the lawsuits allegations.

Along with the cyber-squatting claims, WebEx also is accusing Citrix of trademark infringement and of unfair competition and is seeking an injunction against Citrix as well as damages and attorneys fees. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Click here to read about a cyber-squatting dispute between Vonage Holdings Corp. and AT&T.

The lawsuit is different from a typical cyber-squatting case because it involves accusations that a competitor specifically registered domains in an attempt to confuse potential customers, said Nate Garhart, an intellectual property attorney and partner in the San Francisco office of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP.

Cyber-squatting cases typically involve an entity that has registered a series of domain names with variations on trademarks in order to seek money from the trademark holder, Garhart said. Besides proving the registration of trademarks in domain names, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the names were registered in bad faith, such as with the intent to profit, he said.

"On its face, this seems like a very clear case, but we dont know what Citrix was intending," Garhart said. "And because the bad-faith requirement is a very subjective requirement, until we see what Citrixs intent was, we just cant know."

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