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Register.com wins injunction against rival

The domain name registrar wins a preliminary injunction against the Domain Registry of America for alleged "domain name slamming," or filching customers without their knowledge.

Domain name registrar Register.com won a preliminary injunction against a competitor for alleged "domain name slamming," or filching customers without their knowledge.

The case pits Register.com against the Domain Registry of America (DROA), which it accuses of misleading Register.com customers into switching their domain name registrations.

In her 47-page ruling Thursday, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York called the alleged acts "Domain Registrar Slamming," a term borrowed from the techniques some long distance carriers to get people to unwittingly change their service.

"I'm extremely pleased," said Brett Lewis, assistant general counsel with Register.com. "We feel we have been harmed, and we want to send a message not only to Domain Registry but to others who would engage in these practices that it's not going to be profitable for them, and that we will enforce our rights."

Lewis applauded the court's comparison between the phone slamming cases and the current one.

"I think the term is apt," Lewis said. "There are comparisons that can be drawn between this and what was going on in the telecom industry. It wasn't something that we pushed on the judge, but it was something that she obviously felt was appropriate."

DROA did not return calls.

Domain name registrars have resorted to unorthodox and sometimes questionable customer acquisition techniques in the face of a highly competitive market for their services. In June, the courts intervened to prevent domain name heavyweight VeriSign from sending misleading messages to consumers.

Register.com in August sued DROA, accusing it of violating federal trademark and false advertising laws and New York state laws against unfair business practices and unfair competition.

The injunction prevents DROA from misleading consumers into thinking they are registered with the company if they are not. DROA is also enjoined from imitating Register.com's look in its marketing and promotional materials.

Register.com said it would seek about damages "in the millions" of dollars, depending on what it learns in the discovery process of the case. A trial date has not been set.