Outdoor retailer Gander Mountain has filed a lawsuit against rival Cabela’s over two websites that contain Gander’s name but take Web shoppers to Cabela’s website.
St. Paul-based Gander Mountain is accusing Cabela’s of Sidney, Neb., of trademark infringement and cybersquatting over Cabela’s use of the websites GanderMountainCatalog.com and Gandercatalog.com, which direct web visitors to Cabelas.com. U.S. law defines cybersquatting as registering or using a website name that is “confusingly similar to, or dilutive of, a trademark or personal name.”
The suit in Minneapolis federal court is just the latest chapter in the two companies’ decadelong legal feud over Gander Mountain’s catalog rights, both print and online. Cabela’s legally operated Gander Mountain’s catalog business for several years.
In a statement, Gander Mountain said “Cabela’s illegal use of Gander Mountain’s name to increase traffic to its website is very troubling. Cabela’s has no legal basis for diverting Gander Mountain’s customers from reaching Gander Mountain’s website. Gander Mountain will take whatever legal action is necessary to stop Cabela’s from continuing this illegal diversion.”
A spokesman for Cabela’s could not be reached for comment.
The Gander suit follows by about a week a similar lawsuit filed in Minneapolis federal court by Richfield-based electronics retailer Best Buy, which sued an Ohio man for alleged trademark infringement and cybersquatting for running the computer help websites affordablegeeksquad.com and cheapgeeksquad.com.
Gander’s suit seeks a permanent injunction against Cabela’s use of the Gander catalog website names, asks that the names be transferred to Gander Mountain, seeks $200,000 in statutory damages and also asks for an unspecified amount in additional damages.
Cabela’s bought Gander’s catalog rights just before Gander filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996. A noncompete agreement banned Gander from offering similar catalog and online catalog sales for seven years. During that period, Cabela’s registered the two Gander catalog sites, and has kept the website names since 1999.
Cabela’s and Gander Mountain battled over the rights to Gander’s catalog in federal court in Minneapolis from 2004 to 2007, when Gander won the right to return to the catalog business. Gander today runs its own online catalog business via the Gandermoun tain.com and Overtons.com websites.