The Jews For Jesus organization has filed a lawsuit against the owner of the Web site using the URL "jewsforjesus.org," charging him with unauthorized use of the group's trademark.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, is another example of the surge in domain-name disputes on the Net. Others have included the Blue Note jazz club, Esquire magazine, and the tradmark to Marilyn Monroe's name. Lawyers say these cases will increase as business on the Net booms.
In this case, the Web site of the defendant, Steve Brodsky, includes a link to the Outreach Judaism organization, which tries to bring people who have converted out of Judiasm back to the faith. Jews For Jesus alleges that Brodsky is "a self-proclaimed antagonist of Jews for Jesus."
In a statement, David Bricker, executive director of Jews for Jesus said: "We recognize that our effectiveness irks Mr. Brodsky as well as the entire counter-missionary community. But, they do not need to resort to illegal means to voice their displeasure. They have gone too far and now the courts will need to handle this."
Brodsky could not be reached for comment.
Jews for Jesus had threatened to file the suit last December.
Most lawyers agree there is not yet enough case law to predict how these cases will go. One reason: many of the cases involve distinct circumstances.
Last September, the Blue Note jazz club in New York lost its appeal against a Web site with a similar name in Missouri. The court upheld that the establishment of a Web site in one state, without engaging in activities such as Net commerce, does not expose the host to lawsuits filed in other states.