NZ Post’s new Auckland directory service, Localist, is taking legal action against Yellow Pages over claims of cyber squatting and online “brand-jacking”.
The action was filed in the Auckland High Court on Monday, February 21st.
Localist Chairman Sam Knowles says Yellow has been actively attempting to divert traffic away from Localist’s website by creating ‘phoney’ web addresses and ‘brand-jacking’ its trademark.
Knowles says this is in breach of Google’s policies and efforts to resolve the issues failed, requiring legal proceedings.
“Localist is providing a real challenge to incumbents in the local media market. We want to make sure Aucklanders get the best deal – and misleading behaviour by any company is not good business practice,” said Knowles in a statement.
“Our plans to bring a better priced and genuinely local information service to Auckland are now well advanced. The legal action is to ensure customers can make an informed choice, and to protect Localist’s ability to give the market a much-needed alternative.”
Knowles added that tens of thousands of businesses in Auckland had already registered with Localist and a market launch “was imminent”.
Yellow Chief Executive Bruce Cotterill has dismissed the action today as a publicity stunt.
Update: Stuff is reporting that Cotterill has now resigned, with an official media statement expected soon.