General Motors dropped a recently filed trademark infringement and cyberpiracy lawsuit against online mortgage lending exchange LendingTree.
GMAC, which stands for General Motors Acceptance Corp., the auto giant’s mortgage lending arm, had alleged LendingTree was attempting to trade on GMAC’s reputation by using or appropriating GMAC’s trademark as an Internet domain name.
GMAC last month asked a federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan to block LendingTree from using the Web site, www.gmac.realestate.com, to promote its lending services because the domain name is almost identical to GMAC’s www.gmacrealestate.com.
Web users who mistakenly add an extra dot to the URL for GMAC’s real estate Web site arrive at LendingTree’s RealEstate.com site instead. RealEstate.com includes a home search feature, links to LendingTree’s find-a-Realtor service and sections about mortgages and consumer credit reports. LendingTree prominently advertises its services on the site.
LendingTree owns RealEstate.com, as well as the “.realestate.com” sub-domain. That means any word or combination of characters–not just “GMAC”–that is entered before the “.realestate.com” sub-domain will divert users to the RealEstate.com Web site.
“Once we learned that LendingTree had not used ‘GMAC’ in an Internet domain name, we withdrew the complaint,” Charles Ellerbrock, counsel for GMAC, said.
“We understand how these misunderstandings can occur, and GMAC was very prompt in withdrawing the complaint once it realized we had not done what it had accused us of doing,” LendingTree SVP Eric Cunliffe said.
Media mogul Barry Diller’s InteractiveCorp owns LendingTree. The company matches consumers to mortgage lenders and real estate agents. The LendingTree lending exchange includes more than 200 banks, while the realty services arm connects home buyers and sellers to a nationwide network of approximately 10,000 Realtors.
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