Private equity group sues over “banks” typo

Firm sues to get domain name registered well before it existed.

Picture of scales with the word "lawsuit" imposted on top in a box

A private equity group that focuses on consumer packaged goods has sued the owner of

Bansk Group was formed in 2019. SiteTools has owned since 2013, and it has monetized it by forwarding to sites offering financial products because it’s a typo of

With Bansk Group’s preferred domain name taken, it settled for the domain name

Last year, Bansk Group communicated with SiteTools about buying the domain.  It offered $10,000 for the domain, and SiteTools declined that offer, which Bansk said was “much greater than the appraised value of the domain name,” citing Estibot and GoDaddy appraisals.

When Bansk Group threatened legal action, SiteTools filed a pre-emptive lawsuit in November 2022. The case was later dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Now, Bansk Group is going on the offensive with its own lawsuit (pdf), filed in U.S. District Court in New York. It claims that SiteTools is cybersquatting and targeting its brand.

While SiteTools clearly registered the domain as a typo of the financial word “banks,” Bansk Group argues:

SiteTools redirected the domain name to its domain name to divert consumers from Bansk’s online locations to a site accessible under the domain name that could harm the goodwill represented by the Bansk mark, either for commercial gain or with the intent to tarnish or disparage the Bansk mark, by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the site(s) accessible under the domain name.

As for why Bansk believes it’s entitled to a domain registered many years before it existed, it argues that SiteTools “registered” the domain when it renewed it.

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