NEW YORK - Alitalia, Italy's flagship air carrier, has filed a cybersquatting lawsuit against a disgruntled passenger who registered an Internet domain name of 'www.alitaliasucks.com' after his luggage was lost.
The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleges that the passenger, Mr William Porta, infringed the trademark of Alitalia by registering the name on Oct 26 and posting a letter about how the airline treated him after it lost his luggage on Oct 13.
Alitalia sent Mr Porta a cheque for US$840 (S$1,455) and two travel tickets on Dec 19 to settle his claim, the lawsuit said.
But he told the airline that unless it paid him unspecified 'satisfactory compensation', he would register the website with 350 Internet search engines by today, the lawsuit said.
'By registering the domain name www. alitaliasucks.com with Internet search engines, defendant Porta has or will divert consumers seeking information regarding Alitalia's airline services to his webpage, and will tarnish, disparage, harm and dilute the goodwill, image and reputation of Alitalia,' it said.
The lawsuit said that by seeking to relinquish the name in bad faith, Mr Porta violated the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. It asks a judge to prevent Mr Porta from continuing to use the website.
A letter sent by Mr Porta to Alitalia said the airline lost his luggage as he flew from New York to India to serve as the best man in a formal wedding. Mr Porta, who lives in Earlville, New York, said he had to scramble to buy clothes for the four-day, black-tie affair after the airline failed to reimburse him while in India.
'Not only was my trip ruined, but also my best friend, his family, his wife and his wife's family were put in the awkward...position of trying to find appropriate formal wear for me for each of the four days of their special event,' said the letter, which the airline attached to the lawsuit. --Bloomberg News