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Hijacked? Fight over Poker.com URL

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Poker.com Inc said its eponymous domain name was hijacked and traffic redirected to another business on December 6 in an act of "technological piracy".

The Canadian-domiciled gambling site will "vigorously pursue" the return of the domain name and will seek damages. In the meantime, it urges customers to use an alternative address.

In 1999, Poker.com Inc, then effectively a shell company with a different name, obtained the worldwide rights to poker.com until 2098, the company said in its annual report (pdf), filed March 2001. The rights were obtained from a company called UniNet Technology Inc, which in turn bought the URL from AlaCorp Inc, an unrelated company. UniNet's role in the deal was middleman - when it bought the domain name, it already agreed reselling rights to Poker.com Inc. It sold on the rights to the name to Poker.com Inc for $100,000 and a royalty of 4 per cent on gross profits per month.

At the time of the transaction, Michael Jackson, now president of Poker.com Inc. was a director of UniNet. Jackson and an associate, "Mr. Barbosa", were each rewarded with 125,000 common shares from UniNet as compensation for brokering the sale.

In a statement released yesterday, Mr Jackson said Poker.com Inc. is unaware of "any claim or disagreement through which the company holding the title to the domain may have reason to effect any changes to the current status and operation of www.poker.com".

Poker.com Inc shares are quoted on the NASD OTCBB market. Market cap as of today is a puny $429,375. ®

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