|Ancestry.com vs DDC Filing|
In the very large genetic genealogy and unknown parentage-focused groups that I administer, we are seeing this brand confusion increasingly often -- almost on a daily basis lately -- and so I am very glad to see this addressed. All of my team spends a significant amount of time trying to clarify the difference between the two tests and save people from the impending disappointment of purchasing a product they believed was something else entirely.
Some people may argue that this is Ancestry using their vast resources to bury a smaller competitor, but DDC is a large, successful paternity testing company and the product in question is only a very small part of their business. I am quite confident that they make plenty of money without the extra income generated by people purchasing a test in error. I am not an intellectual property legal expert (unlike my friend and colleague Blaine Bettinger), so I will refrain from technical analysis of this case. However I will say that after reading the complaint thoroughly and from my own experience observing the marketplace, I believe that Ancestry.com is in the right and has a very strong and persuasive case. They addressed all of the misgivings I had about their position in the complaint. While it is true that DDC was using "AncestrybyDNA" before Ancestry started using "AncestryDNA," the market confusion due to their promotional methods is significant and very damaging. (All you have to do is read the comment section of my original blog post on the subject to see the evidence.) I hope this suit will put a stop to that.
One other very interesting thing to me is that Ancestry.com states in the filing that ConnectMyDNA, (the other useless "ancestry" DNA test that Judy Russell wrote about here) has also been marketed by DDC, "Previously, DDC apparently advertised its services through LivingSocial under the trademark CONNECTMYDNA and the website www.connectmydna.com." I checked the site registration and sure enough, the site is registered by DDC.
Thank you to Ancestry.com for taking action to clear up this confusion. It is my sincerest wish that consumers will no longer be fooled into spending money on these products that do not fulfill the purpose for which they were purchased.