Mandeville companies sue programmer for stealing domain names

Michelle Massey Aug. 25, 2010, 2:17am


Two Mandeville companies have filed a lawsuit against their computer programmer for stealing their domain names.

Corks N Canvas and Painting with a Twist filed suit against Brent Pourciau and Hauser Productions on Aug. 18 in federal court in New Orleans.

The plaintiffs provide a program of group instructional painting classes where participants can learn painting techniques, product art and socialize. The groups are the owner of federal service mark registration for Painting With a Twist, Reg. No. 3,703,428 filed Jan. 14, 2009 and registered Oct. 27, 2009.

The defendant was retained in 2008 to assist the groups with designing a computer program, to create and maintain websites, set up search engine optimization, and register domain names.

Corks N Canvas and Painting with a Twist claim the defendant registered the domain name in his own name with the intent to further his own interest and to injure their business.

Further, the plaintiffs claim that after business picked up, the defendant requested additional compensation for past work, as a condition to continue to operate the computer programs and maintain the website.

The defendant is also accused of building the computer program into his own site instead of a stand-alone computer program as agreed.

The petitioners terminated their working relationship with the defendants in May 2010.

The defendants are accused of cybersquatting, trademark infringement, false designation of origin of Painting with a Twist Mark, false and deceptive advertising, copyright infringement, unfair competition under Louisiana law, dilution under Louisiana law, and Louisiana unfair Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

Corks N Canvas and Painting with a Twist are asking the Court to prevent the defendants from further infringement activities, to engage in corrective advertising, to account and disgorge all profits derived from the unlawful acts, an award of damaged, enhanced damages, statutory damages of $100,000 per domain name misuse, attorney fees, interest and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Stephen G. Bullock and Lesli D. Harris of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv02773

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