Online Sex Toy Company Faces Suit Over Similar-Sounding Domain

Dec 15, 2008 5:00 PM PST
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A top cosmetics company has filed a trademark infringement suit against an online sex toy company that peddles its wares from India.

Bare Escentuals Beauty Inc., which sells cosmetics at Sephora stores and the QVC television network, claims Bare-essentials.biz violates its trademark at U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., and is in violation of anti-cybersquatting laws.

Bare Escentuals also is asking that the court transfer its domain name to the cosmetic company. Bare-essentials.biz domain owners, who were not identified in the suit, registered the domain just three months ago with a business address in Kolkatta, India.

“Plaintiff is informed and believes, and therefore alleges, that registrant willfully and intentionally registered and used a domain name with a natural and obvious misspelling of the word ‘escentual’ as ‘essential’ to trick plaintiffs’ customers into visiting registrant's website, which purports to sell lingerie and personal care products.”

Bare Escentuals further said in the suit that Bare-essentials.biz operators “mask the true nature of its website from users."

“When a user opens the website, it appears to be an e-commerce site for the purchase of ladies' lingerie stating on the first page Lingerie Store,” the claim said. “But the site does not offer a line of lingerie for sale. In fact, none of the links for lingerie lead to any actual lingerie for sale.

“When one clicks on [the Lingerie Store] link, the site takes the user to a product listing of sex toys,” the claim said.

Officials for San Francisco-based Bare Escentuals and Bare-essentials.biz were not immediately available for comment.

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