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NCAA Sues Internet Sites

March 20, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A federal judge ordered a company to shut down two gambling-related Internet sites for unauthorized use of NCAA trademarks.

U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Lee signed a temporary restraining order in Alexandria, Va., last week that froze the U.S. assets of BBF International of Haiti.

The NCAA contends the sites lead consumers to believe they are sponsored or approved by the association. One Web site used pictures of athletes at member schools, the NCAA said.

``We want to send a warning that we will pursue companies and individuals who inappropriately register and use domains associated with NCAA trademarks,″ said Elsa Cole, general counsel for the NCAA.

A hearing is scheduled Friday on a similar lawsuit in Indianapolis. A federal judge will hear the NCAA’s request for a temporary restraining order against SBG Global. That company also is using domain names associated with gambling that contain the NCAA’s trademark, the suit contends.

SBG Global is based in Costa Rica. Company spokesman Dennis MacGarrity refused to comment on the lawsuit.

Richard Mendelson, the Web site host who’s also named in the suit against SBG, said, ``As far as I’m concerned, whether it’s an infringement of the NCAA or not, it doesn’t really concern me. SBG will either defend it or not, and if they don’t defend it, the judge will order me to take the Web site down.″

The two suits are the first cybersquatting suits filed by the NCAA that requested injunctive relief. Another action demanding the transfer of domain names linking NCAA trademarks to gambling is pending in Virginia.

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