Man sues former business partner over use of Internet domain name
Martin Simpson claims a former friend and business partner engaged in unfair competition by nabbing an Internet domain name that bears his business's name.
In a four-count suit filed Aug. 14 in St. Clair County Circuit, Simpson claims John Randy Hunt's actions were "out of a personal animus" toward him. Simpson is seeking damages on counts of tortious interference with business relationships, unfair competition, civil conspiracy and tortious inducement of breach of fiduciary duty.
Simpson, of St. Louis, operates Medical Testing Center (MTC), which provides HIV/AIDS and STD testing for individuals throughout the U.S.
Hunt, of St. Clair County, manages Advanced Testing Center, which offers the same services, according to the suit.
Simpson claims Hunt took advantage of advertising expenditures and the good will built up by Medical Testing Center by registering the domain www.medicaltestingcenter.org after MTC announced on its website that it would begin a not-for-profit ".org site." The not-for-profit would offer confidential HIV/AIDS testing for $19.
The suit claims that when users would enter the URL www.medicaltestingcenter.org, they would be redirected to www.affordablehealthscreening.com, another company owned and/or operated by Advanced Testing and/or Hunt that offers confidential HIV/AIDS and STD testing services.
"At a time subsequent thereto, users who entered the URL www.medicaltestingcenter.org were redirected directly to www.advancedtestingcenter.com, Advanced Testing's web site, which remains the case as of the date of the filing of this complaint," the suit says.
Simpson claims Hunt and/or Advanced Testing knowingly and actively participated in and/or induced the disclosure of proprietary information.
Simpson, represented by Jarrod P. Beasley of the Kuehn Law Firm of Belleville, is seeking in excess of $200,000 in damages as well as an order enjoining Advanced Testing and Hunt from trading on the name, reputation and goodwill of Medical Testing Center and from using the name in sales or promotions.
The suit also seeks an order requiring Advanced Testing Center and Hunt to turn over the ".org" domain name, as well as to assign to Medical Testing Center all phone numbers, including 1-800 numbers, assigned to any entity to which users were redirected when entering the URL www.medicaltestingcenter.org.
Simpson also is seeking to recover from defendants any profits gained from using Medical Testing Center's name.