The internet domain registrar and web hosting company Go Daddy is facing a patent infringement lawsuit over the periodic email reminders sent to customers when their account is up for renewal.
The lawsuit has been filed by WhitServe, a Connecticut-based patent licensing firm which currently runs a service known as NetDocket, which is designed to simplify the renewal of trademark registrations.
The firm claims that Go Daddy infringes on two of its patents relating to “professional services reminders” when it sends out email reminders to customers when their domains are about to expire and allows them to click through to the Go Daddy site to renew.
As part of a tried-and-tested legal strategy, WhitServe is also suing optical components Zygo, one of Go Daddy’s customers, in the same lawsuit. The complaint states:
“Zygo infringes one or more claims of the WhitServe patents because it has used and continues to use GoDaddy’s infringing products and services to maintain its web page,”
WhitServe has previously sued trademark management services company Computer Packages Inc. using this same strategy of naming customers. The lawsuit was successful, as the company won $8.4 million in damages.
Go Daddy, as one of the largest domain registrars in the world, is likely to have professional indemnity insurance in place should it lose the WhitServe case. However, such a judgement could nonetheless have repercussions for the entire domain name registrar and web hosting market.