Sex Offender Registry Sues Beneficiaries of Parked Web Domains.

ORLANDO, February 13, 2009 -- A sex offender registry service has filed a trademark infringement and cybersquatting lawsuit against the owners of parked web domains and a compeitior because of similarities in the names.

The federal lawsuit filed today by Family watchdog, LLC ("Family Watchdog") in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida names Lester and Sahra Schweiss, the husband and wife who registered familywatchdog.com, familywatchdog.net and familywatchdog.org, and two competitors with banner ad links appearing on the aforementioned sites.

According to the complaint, Lester and Sahra Schweiss registered the domain names familywatchdog.com, familywatchdog.net and familywatchdog.org in January of 2005 through a Wyoming corporation they owned. At the time of registration, Family Watchdog alleges the sites only references home computer security, offered no goods or services, and otherwise conducted no business.

Family Watchdog, based in Indiana, published a web site at www.familywatchdog.us in June 5, 2005 which allowed visitors to the site to locate registered sex offenders in the United States for free.

The complaint states that Mr. Schwiess initiated contact with Family Watchdog on October 12, 2005 and later made an unsolicited offer to sell the three domain names for $80,000. Family Watchdog declined the offer.

The pleadings filed on behalf of Family Watchdog says that the company's president Steve Roddel is often cited as an expert on sex offender registration. Approximately four days after Roddel appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show on October 31, 2005, the web site at familywatchdog.com alleged started to offer sex offender registration and notification services to the public.

Family Watchdog further alleges that the day after Roddel's March 3 ,2006 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor that a banner ad appeared on familywatchdog.com for National Alert Registry, Inc. ("NAR"), a direct competitor of Family Watchdog. The banner also served as a link to NAR's website. The pleadings allege that NAR paid the Schweisses for the ad and link.

Roddel appeared on The Dr. Phil Show on May 22, 2006. The complaint then alleges that familywatchdog.com published "Due to mention of Dr. Phil, servers are overloaded. If the page fails to load, keep trying," the day after Roddel's appearance.

Family Watchdog attempted to resolve the dispute initiating a proceeding before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). During a conference call relating to this proceeding, a second unsolicited offer to sell the domain names was made -- this time for $200,000. WIPO later decided not to make a final decision in the matter, citing the domain name dispute was ancillary to issues of trademark, unfair competition and other trade related issues usually handled by courts.

A federal trademark registration application was filed on January 16, 2008, allegedly by Mr. Schweiss, to register the mark FAMILY WATCHDOG.COM which was ultimately denied by the United States Patent & Trademark Office because Family Watchdog LLC had already registered FAMILY WATCHDOG in connection with "security services, namely, a sexual offender, crime and criminal registry, search, and notification service."

The complaint states causes of action for: trademark infringement of a federally registered mark, cybersquatting in violation of federal law, false designation of origin, false descriptions, unfair competition under federal law, trademark dilution, fraud, common law trademark infringement, common law unfair competition, and contributory trademark infringement.

Family Watchdog is seeking injunctive relief to stop the defendants from continued use of familywatchdog.com, familywatchdog.net and familywatchdog.org in addition to compensatory and punitive damages.

According to the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, cybersquatting is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. Parking a domain name is registering a domain name without immediately providing content or services via the domain. The most common scenario for parking a domain name are: when the owner of a trademark registers a domain name to prevent cybersquatters, when the owner of a domain name registers spelling variations of their home page address to redirect visitors to the correct address, or when the registrant hopes to sell the domain name to someone else in the future. While some consider the later scenario parasitic, others compare it to real estate or commodities speculation.

Despite any confusion that may have taken place, Family Watchdog claims to be most visited resource on the web about registered sex offenders.

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