Private equity group drops lawsuit over “banks” typo

Domain owner registered the domain well before the private equity company existed.

Picture of scales and the word "Lawsuit", with "Dismissed" superimposed

A private equity group that focuses on consumer packaged goods has dropped its lawsuit against the owner of bansk.com.

Bansk Group was formed in 2019. SiteTools has owned bansk.com since 2013, and it has monetized it by forwarding to sites offering financial products because it’s a typo of banks.com.

With Bansk Group’s preferred domain name taken, it settled for the domain name BanskGroup.com.

Last year, Bansk Group communicated with SiteTools about buying the domain.  It offered $10,000 for the domain, and SiteTools declined that offer, which Bansk said was “much greater than the appraised value of the Bansk.com domain name,” citing Estibot and GoDaddy appraisals.

When Bansk Group threatened legal action, SiteTools filed a pre-emptive lawsuit in November 2022. The case was later dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Last month, Bansk Group went on the offensive with its own lawsuit (pdf), filed in U.S. District Court in New York. It claimed that SiteTools was cybersquatting and targeting its brand.

While SiteTools clearly registered the domain as a typo of the financial word “banks,” Bansk Group argued:

SiteTools redirected the Bansk.com domain name to its domain name to divert consumers from Bansk’s online locations to a site accessible under the Bansk.com domain name that could harm the goodwill represented by the Bansk mark, either for commercial gain or with the intent to tarnish or disparage the Bansk mark, by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the site(s) accessible under the Bansk.com domain name.

It wasn’t clear why Bansk believed it was entitled to a domain registered many years before it existed, but it argued that SiteTools “registered” the domain when it renewed it.

On Wednesday, Bansk Group filed a notice of voluntary dismissal with prejudice.

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