Prudential Douglas Elliman has sued Hamptons competitor Saunders & Assoociates (see complaint below) for allegedly concocting a “cyberpiracy” scheme to divert potential clients to its site, according to Newsday. Elliman claims that Saunders illegally registered several internet domain names related to Elliman’s business in an attempt to steal Elliman customers away.
Elliman is seeking damages and a court order forbidding Saunders from “engaging in any further malicious and anti-commercial activity directed at plaintiff, including the registration of any Internet domain names associated with plaintiff,” according to the filing.
Saunders is also accused of stealing the identities of some well-known Elliman brokers so that any customers searching for that agent exclusively would be automatically directed to Saunders’ website, Crain’s reported.
“This is an action seeking to reveal a gross violation of Prudential Douglas Elliman’s proprietary rights through the sly and dishonest registration of domain names by Saunders & Associates,” said Stanley Arkin of the law firm of Arkin Kaplan Rice, who represents Elliman, in a statement.
Andrew Saunders, founder and president of Saunders, denied the charges, saying the firm did not own any of these domain names, to his knowledge. “If we did own names that are inappropriate, we will give them back immediately,” he said.
This is not the first accusation of foul play for Saunders, who paid $12.17 for the domain name SusanBreitenbach.com and automatically set it up to redirect to SaundersRE.com back in May. Susan Breitenbach is a successful Corcoran broker. [Crain’s and Newsday]
PDE Saunders Summons Complaint