International financial services firm Citigroup filed a lawsuit alleging that
a pornographic Web site business was wrongfully using its Citibank
subsidiary’s trademarked name to direct users to X-rated advertisements.
The suit was filed against Seattle-based Internet Entertainment Group, which
designs and sells advertising on pornographic sites, according to a Reuters report. Those sites include
clubanytime.com, clublove.com and yourslut.com. Another defendant in the suit
is Rafael Fortuny, an IEG franchisee in Miami.
The defendants are accused of infringing on the Citibank trademark by using
the Web address “wwwcitibank.com,” without the period after the three w’s.
Citibank has maintained a Web site at “www.citibank.com” since 1995. If Citibank
customers mistakenly omit the period after the three w’s they sent to the
defendants’ Web site clubanytime.com. We tried (just for grins) omitting the
period and got a “server down” message. Your mileage may vary.
Web sites maintained by IEG offer free “tours” of the type of pornographic
material available through the company’s subscription and pay-per-view
services. IEG also sells sites to franchisees, who receive a pornographic Web
site at a unique Internet address. IEG updates the content of the sites and
processes the billing, the suit said.
The suit alleged that Fortuny, an IEG franchisee, registered the name
“wwwcitibank.com” in March. Citigroup said based on information from Network
Solutions, Fortuny has allegedly registered more than 50 other names seeking
to capitalize on common typographical errors made by Internet users seeking
to reach well-known businesses, including Barnes and Noble, NASDAQ, AMEX and
the New York Times.