Court Fight Over Mail-Order Russian Brides
(CN) - Websites that offer mail-order brides from Russia and the Ukraine are fighting it out in Federal Court.
Anastasia International accuses EM Online Ltd. dba Elena's Models of trademark violations, false advertising, tortious interference and unfair competition, in Manhattan Federal Court.
Anastasia uses the domain names Anastasiadate and Anastasiadate.com for its website. EM Online is based in Australia.
"Plaintiff offers an international dating service which, for a fee, matches men in the United States with women located in Russia and the Ukraine. New York is a significant source of Anastasia's customers," the complaint states.
"Elena's Models is a direct competitor of Anastasia. It operates the elenasmodels.com website and competes for the same potential customers as Anastasia in the United States.
"Upon information and belief, Elena's Models operates or sponsors websites entitled 'anastasiadatefraud.com' and 'ruadventures.com.' Both of these websites disguise the identity of their owners by using a proxy service. However, they direct customers to the elenasmodels.com website. These websites accuse Anastasiadate of systematically perpetuating scams and fraudulent deceptions upon its customers, and then recommend that the customers use Elena's Models, which allegedly does not follow these practices.
"The anastasiadatefraud.com website purports to show extracts from e-mails written by women with profiles on Anastasiadate.com. The e-mail extracts all have a common message - the women featured on Anastasiadate.com are not truly looking for a relationship with United States men, but instead are contract workers paid to correspond with Anastasia customers and break their hearts. These allegations are false, and the emails from the women appear to be fake. Anastasiadate goes to great length to ensure that the women featured on the website are real people who are genuinely interested in dating and marrying United States men."
Elena's Models knows the claims it makes on anastasiadatefraud are not true, and had the emails written specifically to hurt Anastasia's business, the complaint states.
Anastasia claims Elena's uses the ruadventures.com website to promote its own business and publish false, harmful information about competitors.
"The ruadventures.com website, while pretending to be an independently produced forum for the exchange of information about international dating services, in fact is only selecting and publishing negative information about Elena's Models competitors (including Anastasia) and positive reviews about Elena's Models service. The website contains false information about customers' use of the Anastasiadate service which ... has been fabricated by Elena's Models," the complaint states.
Anastasia claims that ruadventures.com infringes on its copyrighted logo to swipe potential customers.
"Using metatags utilizing the Anastasiadate trademarks, defend[ant] has positioned both websites so that they come up at or near the top of any web search for Anastasiadate," the complaint states.
Anastasia seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction, and treble and punitive damages. It is represented by Richard C. Yeskoo with Yeskoo Hogan & Tamlyn.
Anastasiadate.com, checked Thursday, offers American men the "world's most beautiful women!" Its home page features an attractive blonde woman in a V-neck red dress, smiling and toying with her hair.
"No other international dating site comes close," the site claims. It describes itself as "your fastest way to a stack of replies, genuine and affectionate women, 24/7 customer service and security."
On the anastasiadatefraud.com site, also checked Thursday, an anonymous author claims to tell readers "only the facts" about Anastasia date. He claims Anastasiadate pays third-party agencies to hire "girls" who are paid to correspond with customers. He claims he knows this because a woman he chatted with in Kiev told him how Anastasiadate works.
He claims the third-party agencies promise women "high income and flexible schedule" to email and chat with American men. The only listed qualifications are to be 18 or older, to know English, and to know how to use a computer, according to the website.
The writer claims the woman he corresponded with urged him to join Elena's Models, calling it "a serious site."