NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma is suing a Dallas man who officials say violated the university's intellectual property rights by registering an Internet domain name to sell it for a profit later.
Hugh Michael Glenn, 43, said he was using the domain name www.soonernetwork.com for legitimate purposes.
OU filed the lawsuit in Oklahoma City federal court Wednesday. The lawsuit alleges Glenn bought the domain name with the intent of selling it to OU at a profit, a process known as cybersquatting. The university is seeking an injunction barring Glenn from using any of OU's trademarks in the future.
OU also is seeking $100,000 in damages, any profits Glenn has received from the website and rights to the soonernetwork.com domain name.
According to the lawsuit, the domain is “confusingly similar” to other OU trademarks, including soonersports.com and the Oklahoma Sooner Radio Network.
The lawsuit notes that Bob Barry Sr., longtime play-by-play announcer for OU football, referred to the network simply as “the Sooner Network.”
On Monday afternoon, the website at the address soonernetwork.com appeared to be a service that connects Oklahomans with eldercare providers. According to the site, the network doesn't charge patients or family members for the service.
The site includes a form where patients may enter their contact information, but doesn't include contact information for the network.
Although he wouldn't comment on the suit itself, Glenn said he originally bought the domain to use for the network.
“It should be self-explanatory,” he said.
But the lawsuit alleges the business advertised on the site doesn't exist, and the site was established to create the impression that Glenn was using the site for a legitimate purpose.
The lawsuit includes a screenshot of the site dated Sept. 17, 2012. At that time, the webpage included only a silhouette of a longhorn, similar to the logo used by the University of Texas Longhorns. The site included the words “Go Longhorns!!! This domain is for sale.” The site included Glenn's phone number.
OU officials sent Glenn a cease-and-desist letter on Sept. 17. In the letter, officials demanded Glenn stop using and offering to sell the domain name, turn over records of any money he received through the use of the site and transfer the domain name to the university.
According to the lawsuit, Glenn later that month removed his contact information from the site and deleted the portion of the text that said the domain was for sale. The lawsuit alleges Glenn made those changes only to avoid a lawsuit.
On Sept. 25, Glenn again changed the website to remove any reference to longhorns and replaced it with a message about an upcoming announcement about an eldercare service, according to the lawsuit.
A month later, Glenn changed the site to advertise an online eldercare network, according to the lawsuit.
OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop would not comment on the case.