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Published: September 9th, 1999

Domain names, the law and the wide world

There’s no such thing as a local Web business. As soon as you open your virtual doors, you risk colliding with others in name-space. Amazon.com is fighting both sides of the name game: It’s suing a company that opened a knockoff bookstore site (in Greece), and it’s being sued over its name by Amazon Bookstore (in Minneapolis). In Amazon’s caseload, the company has filed a broad lawsuit against CITI Services, a holding company registered in Delaware and the United Kingdom, and against its managing director Greg Lloyd Smith, an entrepreneur living in Greece. Smith operates amazon.gr and amazon.com.gr, an on-line bookstore calling itself “Greece’s Biggest Bookstore” — a seemingly deliberate echo of Amazon’s one-time tag line “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.” The site owes its look and feel to Amazon, according to the lawsuit, and much of its code as well. Amazon had filed an earlier suit in Greek court; the first hearing will be held next month.



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