December 8, 2005, 12:00 AM

Illinois Attorney General sues jewelry store using copycat web addresses

The suit against a Chicago-area jewelry store charges that it uses copycat web addresses to redirect shoppers from competitors’ sites.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against a Chicago-area jewelry store for allegedly using copycat web addresses to redirect consumers from competitors’ sites.

In the lawsuit, Madigan alleges that Chicago Diamond Inc. used so-called typosquatting-registering web addresses that are almost identical to the web addresses of other local jewelry stores-to draw to its site consumers who misspelled other Chicago jewelry stores` web addresses.

The suit-filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court-charges the jeweler with violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Madigan said her office received complaints from 10 Chicago-area jewelry stores alleging that copycat web addresses had been created to divert traffic away from their web sites to the Chicago Diamonds site. The jewelers filing the complaints included Wabash Diamond Co., whose web address is wabashdiamond.com, and Diamonds on Wabash, whose web site address is diamondsonwabash.com. Chicago’s diamond district is located on Wabash Street.

Michael Kelly, the defendant and president of Chicago Diamonds Inc., had registered WabashDiamonds.com and DiamondonWabash.com.

Kelly denies he registered the web addresses to steal customers from other jewelers. “I’m located on Wabash Street and I sell diamonds,” he says. “I have as much right to the name” as the other retailers.

Madigan is asking for a civil penalty of $50,000 against the jewelry store. It also seeks additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation committed with the intent to defraud.

In addition, the lawsuit asks for an order forcing Chicago Diamonds to transfer the registration of all relevant domain names to the affected computers and to pay restitution to consumers.

Kelly says he will give up the domain names but will fight any civil penalties.

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