The Integrion home banking consortium has settled a lawsuit over the use of its name on the Internet.
Though such disputes have been common as companies have rushed on to the Internet, Integrion's had a potentially embarrassing twist: integrion.com was a pornographic address.
Terms of the accord between Integrion Financial Network and Canadian businessman Jeff Burgar, who used the word "integrion" to route Internet surfers to a site called "Hard Stuff," were not fully disclosed, but the consortium did receive ownership of the integrion.com address.
The settlement was negotiated late last month. Integrion had filed a suit Oct. 9 against Mr. Burgar in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
Mr. Burgar, president of a company called Super Email, had registered the integrion.com address shortly after the banking consortium announced plans in September 1996 that included a site called integrion.net. The pornography content "clearly was going to tarnish the distinctive quality of the Integrion trademark," said David Stewart, an Atlanta lawyer who represented the consortium, which consists of International Business Machines Corp., NationsBank Corp., Banc One Corp., BankAmerica Corp., and 15 other banking companies.
Mr. Burgar had registered more than 600 Internet domain names, including chevrolet1.com and hewlettpackard.com. He was accused of being one of a breed of Internet entrepreneurs who locked up brand names in hopes of selling them to companies willing to pay huge sums.
The consortium charged that Mr. Burgar registered the Integrion name to create confusion and to profit from the diversion of Integrion customers. When asked to stop using the name, Mr. Burgar offered to sell the Web address to the banking group for $350,000, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Burgar's New Jersey-based attorney, Ari Goldberger, said his client was not trying to mislead anyone and was only trying to operate a legitimate business on the Net. Mr. Burgar received no money in the settlement, he added.
"Jeff Burgar wasn't opening up a bank. It wasn't his intent to get the name and then sell it back to the bank," said Mr. Goldberger. "A lot of corporations think just because they have a trademark, they can take a domain name on the Internet."