According to a report on Fox 13 (the Tampa, Florida Fox affiliate station), Ebay is allegedly bullying a website called NatureBay. It would appear Ebay has an issue with the “Ebay” that is found in the NatureBay branding. The NatureBay.com domain name registration dates back to July of 2009, according to a DomainTools Whois search.
Here’s an excerpt from the news article covering what Ebay told the owner of the business in what is likely a cease and desist letter:
“When Ebay found out about Naturebay, it fired off a letter to Lewis.
Essentially, Ebay says Naturebay is too close to the Ebay name.
In part, the letter reads: “Regardless of your intent, your use and registration of Naturebay for online directory or market place services will dilute the distinctiveness of Ebay and cause consumers to mistakenly believe that your online directory and business is somehow affiliated with Ebay.””
I find it difficult to believe that the company would really think that NatureBay could confuse visitors into think the website is somehow affiliated with Ebay. Not only is the “eBay” in the domain name and business name not even similar in pronunciation, but the logo and graphic design look totally different. I can’t imagine anyone who visits NatureBay.com would think it is somehow associated with Ebay.
The article mentioned that the owner of the business does not have an attorney yet. If he does opt to use an attorney to defend his right to own the domain name and operate his business, there are several exceptional domain name attorneys who would represent him well.
After the publicity that this is receiving, I would not be surprised if Ebay decides to stop pursuing this matter and the company follows up on its original letter with an apology letter to the business owner. Hopefully this happens without the need for the owner to spend money to hire a lawyer.