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  1. #1
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Bellagio Designs.... extreme identity theft

    We sell some of the Bellagio Designs product line through our online store, and I actually love their cases. I have been working with them as a partner for a couple of years and have helped them with information and requirements related to PDAPhone cases. I just learned that their company has been the unfortunate victim of extreme identity theft. Somehow, another party has managed to get control of their domain name. On top of that, it was someone who had an in with the factory they use and so they have apparantly heisted the product line as well. I am just tipping you off so that you are aware of this and don't fall victim if you by from the imposter. Eventually I would assume the legal eagles will straighten this out, but in the interim... you need to be informed.

    The imposter is using Bellagio Designs original website at http://bellagiodesigns.com . As a short term solution, they have created a new site... http://bellagiodesign.com . This second one is the real company. If you check the Contact Us on each site you will find that the second one is owned by Bellagio Designs, LLC, and the other is owned by some other company.

    This has to be one of the most extreme identity theft cases I have ever heard of. I hope they are able to recover and get things back on track. To make matters worse, they were in the middle of relocating their offices to a new facility when this happened.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  2. #2
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    I just did a little nosing around and it looks like these guys may have acquired the trademark rights to Bellagio as well. There is a recent filing in August from a company that has initials similar to what the Contact Us says on that page. I don't know if it is a coincidence or not, but the lawyer listed for the patent filing is from a big Chicago patent firm http://www.welshkatz.com/ . There is another gentleman by the same last name that has made billions on going after people for a patent he has on using a telephone with a computer - http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/0624/065.html .
    Mike - Been Converged?

  3. #3
    Registered User Robert K.'s Avatar
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    Interesting stuff Mikey
    Please visit my picture site: Robert-O-Rama :)

  4. #4
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Yeh, I can't believe more people haven't commented on it... pretty amazing story.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  5. #5
    Billy Bo Bob Brain BrerLapn's Avatar
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    I just saw the topic. Have you had any contact with the original Bellagio Designs to make sure that this is actually an identity theft and not a sale of the business?

    Oh and BTW, I don't think the law firm you named above is involved in the Katz patent machine.
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  6. #6
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    I have had contact with the Bellagio Designs, LLC. They are a supplier for our online store. They told me that this had happened. They didn't use the phrase "identity theft", but said that someone had taken their website url and it disrupted our ability to order from them. I have since removed their products from our store pending some formal resolution.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  7. #7
    Billy Bo Bob Brain BrerLapn's Avatar
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    Well, the bellagiodesign.com website was registered in July, so I'm assuming they've had this problem since at least then. I hope they have already gotten a lawyer. If not, one of my old bosses might be able to help them (assuming that he's not already fully loaded with work). He does trademark enforcement and in the past has done some domain name work.
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  8. #8
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    I think they've resigned themselves to changing their name completely. I tried to get them to fight it, but I'm guessing that who ever did this knew what they were doing.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  9. #9
    Registered User Robert K.'s Avatar
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    That is a weird situation.
    Please visit my picture site: Robert-O-Rama :)

  10. #10
    Billy Bo Bob Brain BrerLapn's Avatar
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    Two thoughts on that: one, they are screwing themselves because they'll lose their own rights in their trade identity if they let someone else operate at the same time with the same name selling the same goods. Two, they're screwing their old customers because people aren't going to have a way to know the website has been stolen, it being a wholesale copy of the original. And judging from the business ethics they've demonstrated so far, I gotta guess they'll be crooks to their customers too.

    The thieves may have "known what they were doing" as far as how to redirect traffic effectively, but it shouldn't be that hard to drop the hammer on them because they have been so flagrant about it all. Even if they were able to grab the URL because the original company let it lapse, there is still a remedy. You aren't allowed to register a URL with someone else's trade identity and use it for an infringing business.

    Plus if the original company designed the cases that they and the thieves are selling, they can probably register them for US copyrights and nail them for that, too.

    Their reaction is just baffling it's so far beyond weird.
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  11. #11
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    It seems they likely let there url go past renew date. Thats the only way I know if to steal a domain name. People love to snatch up big names sites that lapse.
    Thanks
    - Andrew - PDAPhoneHome.com

  12. #12
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Something happened with the trademark around the time this all happened. I'm wondering if they got the trademark, and then used that to get the url. And, if they have some connection with the factory that they outsource the manufacturing to, and that factory is in South America... well it isn't a pretty picture.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  13. #13
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    I know that a company can manage to take domains if they can prove they had the business/name before the other person/comapny registered the domain.
    Thanks
    - Andrew - PDAPhoneHome.com

  14. #14
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Well even though they didn't use the mark before, if they somehow managed to get control of the trademark, I think that may also weigh on getting control of the url.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  15. #15
    Billy Bo Bob Brain BrerLapn's Avatar
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    If the trademark was licensed from the factory (meaning it actually belonged to the factory and the company was paying them to use it) and the second company got the license instead, then that could explain the second company's use of the name. But trademark law frowns on two companies using confusingly similar trademarks, and they should still have rights in the design of their web site. If the trademark was theirs and the other company just snaked the supplier out from under them, then the first company should still have the rights to the name at least. Registering a domain name, even if it has been allowed to lapse, that consists of a trademark isn't allowed, as far as I know.
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  16. #16
    Registered User castlehillinn's Avatar
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    I am glad I did a search on this site before I went ahead and made a purchase of the claimed i730 case the poser site has.
    :keg:

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