According to the Consumerist, Yelp has a filed a lawsuit against three websites–Revpley, Revleap.me, and YelpDirector. Yelp’s suit asserts that the sites have engaged in trademark infringement, unfair competition, contract interference, false advertising, and cybersquatting.
The defendant websites all propose to offer companies methods to increase their ratings on Yelp. In fact, YelpDirector sent emails to solicit business, in which it claimed it had developed a software that would allow prospective customers to generate four and five star reviews, which in turn would enable the company to remain on Yelp’s first page of results. The emails also stated that YelpDirector would filter through all three, two and one star reviews to ensure that they never were posted to the the respective company’s Yelp page. Yet, because the site is not affiliated with Yelp, it cannot not fulfill these promises.
While YelpDirector directly uses the “Yelp” name in its promotional materials, all three sites use Yelp’s logo on their webpages, which may mislead consumers–making them believe that these sites are sponsored by or affiliates of Yelp. While YelpDirector was the first of the three sites, once it received a cease and desist letter from Yelp, it quickly created Revpley and Revleap.me. While it is clear that the websites engaged in trademark infringement, it is less certain if Yelp will prevail on all of its claims.