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We purchased a website from a seller based on the understanding that it was unique and they would not compete with us after the sale. We found out that as soon as they were paid, they took the original site and created a copy of it. We can test from various external points that that they are using the code of the site we purchased. This is in direct conflict of the understanding. The site we purchased has been operating for over 1 year, while their new site has been operating for 2-3 months. We have tried to contact the seller, but we are not getting any response back from them. Their domain is protected by Domains by Proxy who requires a subpoena to disclose the ownership details. The parties involved are the buyer, based in Arizona, and sellers based in India. I would like to know how to go about filing a suit and obtainting the whois information through the registrar. We would then like to file DMCA notices and ideally a favorable court order to have the competing site taken down. Please advise if you are able to help with the whole process.
Payment was sent to buyer through Escrow.com. We don't have a formal agreement signed and don't have any copyright filed with the USPTO, but nonetheless, we believe this is a matter of theft and we would still have sufficient defensible position as our site activity history precedes the copy site they have created. They only changed some minor CSS style sheet to make the site look a little different, but it's based on our exact site.
Hello! I have a couple questions:
How was the non-compete confirmed if not in formal agreement?
Are the two sites operating in competition to each other (selling same things, in same area) or does the website purely look alike?
I am able to help with IP, DMCA, as well as the WIPO issues that may become apparent.
We had several communications with the party to confirm via email prior to the sale, that one of the key expectations of the sales is that they would not complete by creating another site. Once the transaction was underway and we were in the closing period after they received their funds, they stopped communicating and we never got a formal agreement in place for the non-compete. However our communications via emails confirm this understanding.
The sites are operating in direct competition to each other. They look very similar (other than some minor edits they have made), but the scripts they are using to offer the online tools are exactly the same, and they are offering the same content as our site provides.
We bought the site with the code and scripts, making them our property and our copyright, and they are using the same scripts to run their site.
I would disclose details but I am not sure if this is a public forum as I don't want to divulge details except in direct communications.
I believe this is indeed a public forum (I am still new to this platform), but I believe you as a customer may request to switch to PM messages. I apologize for not knowing, but I do know the two interfaces are very different!
Next question, how much was the sale price of the site? (I'm considering all the ways you can address this and in actuality there are a few!)
The sale price was $250K
Okay! I believe I have enough info to provide you with a couple options. Your urgency level is listed as Medium, would it be okay for me to finish your answer in the morning? I was about to log off for the evening but saw your response.
Yes you can respond to me by the morning
Perfect!! Chat with you tomorrow! Sleep well
Hello!! I have been attempting to catch you online because I do have one other thing to clarify -- Is the referenced "buyer" in Arizona the one running the potentially infringing website?
The referenced buyer, my partners and I are based in Arizona. The ones running the infringing website is in India, but they seem to be using US based registrar and US and UK based hosting services.
Steve, thank you for the comprehensive response.I would want to send the subpoeans and C&D to DomainsByProxy, Google and the hosts. What would you estimate the costs and initial timeframe be to file suit, TRO and subpoeans?
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