Amazon files lawsuit against copycat site

The Net retail behemoth says it has filed a federal suit against the operator of a Greece-based copycat site, alleging trademark and copyright infringement, as well as extortion.

Amazon.com today said it has filed a federal suit against the operator of a Greece-based copycat site, alleging trademark and copyright infringement, as well as extortion.

The suit centers around the Amazon.gr domain name and the Web site located at that address. Amazon.gr calls itself "Greece's Biggest Bookstore," and has much the same look and feel as Amazon.com's site. Amazon.com once referred to itself as the "Earth's biggest bookstore," but now says it has the "Earth's Biggest Selection."

Amazon.com alleges in the suit that Greg Lloyd Smith, who owns CITI, the company that operates Amazon.gr, contacted Amazon in May about selling the company a controlling interest in CITI for roughly $1.6 million. After Amazon refused the offer, it discovered that CITI had set up the Amazon.gr Web site.

As part of the suit, Amazon.com is asking the court for an injunction against Amazon.gr and Smith, and is seeking damages.

"With this lawsuit, we're putting other Amazon copycats and cybersquatters on notice: You can run, but you can't hide," Amazon said in a statement.

This is the second suit Amazon has filed regarding this matter. Last month, the company sued Amazon.gr in Greece, alleging trademark and copyright violations.

Ironically, Amazon is the subject of a separate lawsuit concerning the use of the "Amazon" name. In April, Minneapolis-based Amazon Bookstore Cooperativefiled a federal suit against Amazon asking the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to order the company to stop using the "Amazon" name. The filing also asked that Amazon hand over profits generated from use of the name.

According to the company's latest quarterly report, earlier this month, the court denied Amazon Bookstore's motion for a preliminary injunction against Amazon.

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