On December 5, 2011, Facebook, Inc. filed an adversary proceeding in the Northern District of Georgia seeking a determination that a debt arising from alleged "typosquatting" by the debtor should be excepted from the debtor’s discharge. The proceeding is Facebook, Inc. v. Souza, A.P. No. 11-05684 (N.D. Ga. filed December 5, 2011) (click here for .pdf copy of Complaint).
This lawsuit as well as similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions have been the subject of articles in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and other publications. The meat of the Complaint is as follows:
20. On information and belief, Souza intentionally engaged in a scheme or multiple schemes to exploit and profit from Internet domain names that are confusingly similar to Facebook’s famous and distinctive mark, FACEBOOK.
22. As used in this Complaint, “typosquatter domain name” means a domain name that is confusingly similar to a protected mark. A typosquatter domain name may be confusingly similar to a protected mark either because it incorporates the protected mark (e.g., “facebookmarketingforresults.com”) or because it is an intentionally misspelled or corrupted version of the protected mark that is similar to the protected mark in sight, sound, and meaning (e.g., “faceboook.com”). Souza is or has been a registrant, owner, or operator of typosquatter domain names and/or has profited from typosquatter domain names that are confusingly similar
to Facebook’s famous and distinctive mark, FACEBOOK.
24. As described below, Souza intentionally and fraudulently used at least one typosquatter domain name and one landing website to divert consumers from Facebook’s online location and profit from consumers’ confusion.
25. On information and belief, Souza intentionally and fraudulently used other typosquatter domain names and other landing websites of which Facebook is not yet aware to divert consumers from Facebook’s online location and profit from consumers’ confusion.
26. On information and belief, Souza has also induced or encouraged others to participate in schemes identical or substantially similar to the one described below.
27. Souza registered the domain name facebookmarketingforresults.com and made it accessible to Internet users at http://www.facebookmarketingforresults.com.
28. The facebookmarketingforresults.com domain name incorporates Facebook’s famous and distinctive mark, FACEBOOK. Souza intentionally and fraudulently used the FACEBOOK mark to suggest, falsely, that the facebookmarketingforresults.com domain name and the http://www.facebookmarketingforresults.com website were connected to or approved by Facebook.
29. If a consumer typed “facebookmarketingforresults.com” into his web browser on July 19, 2011, his browser would have been redirected immediately to an intermediate landing website, http://1939.com, and then to the landing website http://social.worldrewardcenter.com/.
34. On information and belief, that survey was pretextual and false. Visitors who
completed the survey did not receive the prizes and awards as promised. They were, however, presented with various advertisements and offers, some of which required visitors to divulge personal information.
35. On information and belief, Souza received payment each time a consumer visited http://social.worldrewardcenter.com/ via http://www.facebookmarketingforresults.com, clicked on one of the offers or advertisements on http://social.worldrewardcenter.com/, bought goods or
services on http://social.worldrewardcenter.com/, and/or divulged personal information on http://social.worldrewardcenter.com/.