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SOURCE Travel Spike, LLC
Issues Cease and Desist, Subpoenas to Successors Travora Networks and MediaShift Regarding Recent Asset Purchase and Continued Infringement
NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Travel Spike, LLC (www.travelspike.com), the largest travel media platform in comScore and the first company to start a vertical advertising network for the travel industry, today announced it is stepping up its efforts in its legal battle against Travora Media, Inc. In January 2013, Travel Spike brought suit against Travora Media alleging claims related to trademark infringement and deceptive trade practices for Travora Media's use of "Travel Ad Network," despite Travel Spike's federally registered trademark, Travel Ad Network®. In February 2013, while the suit was pending, Travora Media sold substantially all of its assets to Travora Networks, Inc., a newly formed company wholly owned by MediaShift, Inc. Travora Media then claimed to the court it had no assets with which to continue the fight against Travel Spike. In conjunction, Travora Networks claimed no responsibility for Travel Spike's losses as it did not purchase any of Travora Media's liability.
Travel Spike is not so sure. "I take this very personally and want justice," said Ryan Bifulco, Founder and CEO of Travel Spike. "Travora Networks was aware of our lawsuit at the time it purchased Travora Media's assets, and may have known the asset purchase would leave Travora Media unable to satisfy a judgment." For this reason, Travel Spike has recently subpoenaed documents from Travora Networks and its President, Brendon Kensel, and plans to depose Kensel in the near future. In addition, Travel Spike has subpoenaed former Travora Media executives Nan Forte, Brian Silver, Bob Sacco and Cree Lawson, and is engaged in other discovery with Travora Media. "We intend on obtaining a judgment against Travora Media for its actions," said Bifulco, "and having that judgment satisfied, even if it takes a second lawsuit against Travora Networks."
When companies purchase assets, they often decline to purchase liabilities, leaving creditors of selling companies in a lurch. However, when the purchasing company is a mere continuation of the company from which it purchases assets, creditors can reach the purchasing company through a legal theory known as successor liability. Similarly, the purchasing company can be reached by creditors if those creditors can show the asset purchase amounted to a fraudulent conveyance, which can require proving that the selling company was made insolvent by the conveyance, that the transaction occurred at a "suspicious" time, and that the buyer knew there was significant pending legal action against the seller.
According to Howard Koval, EVP and Chief Strategist for Travel Spike, Travel Spike may be able to clear this hurdle. "Travora Networks and Travora Media have many similarities beyond their names. After Travora Networks purchased Travora Media's assets, Travora Networks opened in the exact same New York office location with most of the same staff, advertisers and publishers. It also maintained an identical website and what appears to be an identical business model." Both Koval and Bifulco further believe Travora Networks and Travora Media knew the asset purchase would leave Travora Media without sufficient liquidity to satisfy a judgment in the Travel Spike case. "We think discovery will show that the asset purchase does not insulate Travora Networks from liability," says Bifulco.
In addition, Travel Spike recently issued a cease and desist letter to Travora Networks and MediaShift relating to the companies' used of "Travel Ad Network" in its advertising and filings. "Despite knowledge of our trademark, and knowledge of the ongoing lawsuit against Travora Media for the exact same behavior, Travora Networks and MediaShift have in effect thumbed their noses at us by continuing to use this phrase," stated Koval. "Use of 'travel ad network' by Travora Media and Travora Networks has created confusion in the marketplace and continues to harm our company. We are working with experts to quantify how much revenue these actions have diverted away from Travel Spike."
About the lawsuit against Travora Media:
Travel Spike's lawsuit against Travora Media, which is currently proceeding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, alleges Travora Media unlawfully used Travel Spike's Travel Ad Network® trademark to advertise its services, as its website address and as the former name of its company. Travel Spike's complaint includes claims for malicious and fraudulent activity by Travora Media's founders and executives, and seeks treble (triple) damages and attorneys' fees.
Currently, the lawsuit does not include any claims against Travora Networks or MediaShift. When asked whether Travel Spike would try and add Travora Networks as a defendant, Bifulco stated Travel Spike's legal team was considering the issue.
About Travel Spike:
Established in 2001, Travel Spike, LLC (www.travelspike.com) is a leading travel marketing and technology company with expertise in the latest digital trends and online marketing, advertising and technology solutions. In 2002, Travel Spike created the Travel Ad Network® service exclusively focused on travel, tourism and hospitality. Today, Travel Spike is the largest travel media platform in comScore and offers travel advertisers and their ad agencies a variety of digital advertising products including: travel deal text links, email sponsorships, In-Image, Flash Sales, lead generation, integrated content-driven sponsorships and display. Travel Spike has helped more than 2000 destination, travel supplier and travel brand clients by leveraging their industry expertise and experience.
Larry Thomas, Latergy LLC
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