NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Travel Spike, LLC (www.travelspike.com), a leading travel marketing and technology company and the owner of the Travel Ad Network® service, the first vertical advertising network for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, today announced that a lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against direct competitor Travel Ad Network, Inc. (TAN). The lawsuit outlines the case for treble monetary damages and injunctive relief on eight counts, including federal and common law trademark infringement, federal and common law unfair competition, cybersquatting, deceptive trade practices, and unjust enrichment.
The Complaint alleges that TAN, a company reported to have raised $31 million from StarVest Partners, Rho Ventures, Village Ventures and other investors, unlawfully uses Travel Spike's Travel Ad Network® trademark as the name of its company, service and website address. Trademark infringement is at the core of Travel Spike's request that the Court order TAN to stop using Travel Spike's Travel Ad Network® mark and award Travel Spike compensation for the damages it has sustained. Travel Spike's claim goes much further, however, listing seven more counts and identifying malicious and fraudulent activity by TAN's founders and executives. Alleging willful, unethical and deceptive business activities by TAN, Travel Spike will ask the Court to treble any damages awarded by the jury.
"We took this action because TAN refused to seriously compensate Travel Spike for past, present and future damages," said Howard Koval, EVP and Chief Strategist for Travel Spike. "While TAN's attorneys have relayed statements about a desire for an amicable settlement, their actions say something else. We are still open to constructive negotiation, but demand respect and will not be bullied by unethical practices."
Travel Spike issued a cease and desist letter to TAN and its CEO and Board of Directors in July 2011 after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,912,781 for Travel Spike's "Travel Ad Network®" trademark. The action was taken to protect Travel Spike's intellectual property and help differentiate Travel Ad Network® from competitors improperly using the mark. Since receiving the letter, TAN has hired a new CEO and announced its intent to change its name, but has failed to make a good faith offer to compensate Travel Spike for its past damages. Travel Spike's claim for damages is increasing daily as a consequence of TAN's continued willful infringement of Travel Spike's trademark.
The suit outlines TAN's ongoing false statements and fraudulent activity and reveals a history of previously unpublicized exchanges between the founders of the two companies that pre-date TAN's formation. Founded in 2001, Travel Spike created the very first online advertising network exclusively focused on travel and hospitality in 2002 and named it Travel Ad Network®. Internet Travel Network, LLC, was formed in or around December 2004, and changed its name to Travel Ad Network, Inc. in or around March 2008. TAN's founders, Cree Lawson and Robert Sacco, were both aware of Travel Spike's use of the Travel Ad Network® trademark in connection with Travel Spike's online advertising service for the travel industry before TAN formed Internet Travel Network, before TAN incorporated as Travel Ad Network, Inc., before TAN adopted the domain name traveladnetwork.com, and before TAN began promoting its directly competitive service as Travel Ad Network. The suit references misleading statements made in bad faith by Mr. Lawson, Mr. Sacco, former TAN CEO Brian Silver and other representatives of the company.
"Travel Spike's primary focus is on helping clients conceive, create and execute marketing campaigns but TAN has forced us to also devote resources to aggressively protect our intellectual property," said Ryan Bifulco, Founder and CEO of Travel Spike. "Three months after we served notice on TAN to stop using our trademark, they continue to profit from illegal use of our intellectual property while sending mixed, destructive messages to a confused marketplace."
Travel Spike will continue to actively expand its Travel Ad Network® service by adding new sites, partners and capabilities to better service the needs of its travel-centric client base. Simultaneously, the Georgia based company will defend itself against TAN, TAN's executives, board, investors, and other parties who violate Travel Spike's intellectual property rights.
About Travel Spike:
Established in 2001, Travel Spike, LLC (www.travelspike.com) is a leading travel marketing and technology company with expertise in the latest digital trends and online marketing, advertising and technology solutions. In 2002, Travel Spike created the Travel Ad Network® service exclusively focused on travel, tourism and hospitality. The Travel Ad Network® service offers travel advertisers and their ad agencies a variety of digital advertising products from banners to travel deal text links to targeted emails to social media to lead generation and integrated content-driven sponsorships. Travel Spike has helped more than 2000 destination, travel supplier and travel brand clients by leveraging their industry expertise and experience.
SOURCE Travel Spike, LLC