United Airlines Sues Passenger Complaint Site Untied
from the really-now? dept
I had really thought that we’d reached the point where lawyers working for large, well-known companies recognize just how incredibly stupid it is to file lawsuits against websites that criticize them. Sure, a decade ago or so, it was common for big companies to go after so called “sucks sites” or “complaints sites,” often alleging trademark infringement. But, at some point, many of them realized that (a) trademark complaints were a dead end since there was no confusion and (b) that these lawsuits only drew a lot more attention to the sites in question. Apparently, however, there are still some throwback lawyers working for United Continental, and they’ve decided to go after a popular passenger complaints site that goes by the creative domain Untied.com.
Untied has been around for fifteen years — so you’d think United would be used to it. However, apparently they got pissed off that Untied redesigned its site to look something like United’s current design. The top image is the Untied complaint site as it looked recently (it has since added some more features to make it clear that it’s not actually United’s site). The bottom image is United’s site:
No matter where this falls legally, however, I can’t see how this could possibly make sense from a business standpoint. The end result — win or lose — is going to be that a lot more people become aware of Untied, and are likely to think of United as being a big bully against the small guy helping passengers who had bad experiences with the airline. Of course, some of the details may be in the actual filing, which doesn’t seem to be public yet. The lawsuit was filed in Canada, and the docket page doesn’t have the actual filing yet. Oddly, however, it does claim that the case is about patent infringement. I’m going to assume that’s a data entry error somewhere, however…