DMCA-CASE#93487 COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
PUBLISHED DATE: MARCH 2017
IMPORTANT: The information below was believed to be correct at the time of writing. If anything is disputed by Rudi Slabbinck then he should contact us and explain when we will gladly open dialogue.
ACTION: TO TAKE DOWN COPYCAT WEBSITES DUE TO BREACH OF COPYRIGHT / NON PERMITTED USE OF LOGO / BRAND / CONTENT
PERPETRATOR: Rudi Slabbinck (resides in Aspe, Spain)
COMPANY NAME: Costa Blanca Villas AOF (Belgium)
1) The deliberate purchase and copycat use of “hondon villas” as Top Level domain names similar to ours and to use them maliciously and fraudulently
2) Creating and promoting a “copycat website” using the Hondon Villas brand name, font style and colours of the long established good name of “Hondon Villas” ( .net based in Frailes) including the name, logo and similar colours which was established before 2010
3) Deliberately copying and using original and copyright website content, key phrases and other general items without Hondon Villas (.net) express permission.
Hondon Villas (.net) / Maureen Cook
Hondon de los Frailes
Original domain HONDONVILLAS.NET
www.hondonvillas.net is a registered domain (since 2010). It is officially and currently registered by Mr. Derek Cook on behalf of Hondon Villas ( based in Hondon de los Frailes, Spain). We have applied for national registration of this company name. This domain hosts the main Hondon Villas (.net) website for property sales (inmobiliaria) and has done since 2010.
Further Hondon Villas (.net) use many other on-line portals, sister websites and collaborators branded or under the group name “Hondon Villas”.
Hondon Villas (.net) are a bona fida real state agent in the Hondon Valley area of Spain. Hondon Villas (.net) have legal offices and employ paid staff in the central plaza Hondon de los Frailes. (Calle Juan Carlos #24)
The official and main Hondon Villas (.net) website has been in use since 2010 to publish and sell local property in and around the Hondon Valley area. Our clients are both local sellers and international buyers (English, Dutch, Belgium, French, etc). Hondon Villas are an established business and well known to the are. The main office is a real bricks & mortar dwelling in the high street which has and still is open 5 days per week for about five years.
Our main branding and logo (a distinctive green and dark blue) adorn our office windows, office stationery, off-line and on-line advertising, business cards and on-line publicity such as social media. The green/blue Hondon Villas logo and brand was designed in 2010. We have used it every since.
THE MAIN COMPLAINT:
Another person “Rudi Slabbinck” recently registered two domains: hondonvillas.be and hondonvillas.eu (in late Feb 2017) as confirmed by the domain registers.
Rudi Slabbinck has hosted and publish content on both these websites. Hondon Villas believe is a deliberate attempt to use or simulate the original brand and colours and could deceive or confuse the general public by using our Company name “Hondon Villas”. The use of a very similar logo to the original brand colours (green / navy blue) and font style is a deliberate act.
Plus, Rudi Slabbinck has in the past copied verbatim some of Hondon Villas (.net) original and copyright material, search keywords and the general layout of our web site design. Rudi Slabbinck has done this on these two new sites, including similar footers, email address and layout. Sites (we know of) that use similar or copyright material without permission. (at the time of writing this)
costablanca-villas.immo (his main website)
Rudi Slabbinck is well aware of our brand and websites. Indeed he has met Maureen of Hondon Villas (.net) many times. Maureen sold him and his wife a house in Albatera in 2014. He has visited the Hondon Villas (.net) office in Frailes in the past. Indeed, he and his wife attended the Hondon Villas Office inauguration four years ago (we have a picture). He has communicated with the office staff and in general well knows our brand, logo and has experienced our real estate services first hand. He would know 100% of our brand and logo.
Rudi Slabbinck has a history of both copying and copyright infringement to include textual content, images and “search engine optimisation” from other websites. This is includes recently
falsely claiming and displaying the AIPP member’s badge on all his websites (he was found out and asked to remove them) …
and used original images from a Portugal based real estate agent called IRG Property without their permission.
Rudi Slabbinck’s website has boasted (in the footer and other places) that he has traded since 2006, however he only came to Spain in 2013 and was previously, we believe was a seller of ceramic tiles in Belgium before that.
They turned their house in Albatera into a Bed and Breakfast. He ran this with his wife illegally (not registered) and did not pay any tax on rental income (Rudi admits this many times).
Rudi, nor his partner Conney, have any previous Real Estate experience. He did some translations from English to Dutch for Hondon Villas. That is our association with him but we found that he was poaching business from other agents in the area. We agreed amicably that he had become disloyal, and so we no longer had a working relationship with him.
The Bed and Breakfast “La Huerta” in Albatera failed in 2015 so and he and his wife returned to Belgium. They had to sell the B&B.
RudiSlabbinck and his partnerhave returned to Spain (about August 2016). They live and trade from their home in Aspe.
Costa Blanca Villas. www.costablanca-villas.immo
Calle Aitana 21,
03680 Aspe, Inland Alicante
Currently his websites claim his company is CEPI-CEI (EU Real Estate Organisation) member but he cannot be found on their register and is now being investigated by CEPI for potential mus-representing an organisation’s membership. Hondon Villas (.net) have on several occasions asked Rudi to remove our copyright material, logos and copyright content from his websites. We have repeatedly asked him in the past to stop using our material but continues to use our original material and design ideas. He has compiled in most instances but with every new site he build he feels he can copy our material without permission again.
NO PERMISSION GIVEN
To BE CLEAR Hondon Villas rarely give permission to other agents to use our original logo, material, articles or images. We 100% never gave Rudi Slabbinck permission to use any Hondon Villas material or branding on any of his websites and we certainly do not tolerate copycat websites.
These two new sites were registered by Rudi Slabbinck and have gone direct live within two days. We strongly believe Rudi Slabbdinck (the domain register and competitor agent) uses our copy, content, images and SEO keywords to bolster his web presence. In our opinion, Rudi Slabbinck’s actions are a deliberate case of Copycat tactics.
We believe (at time of writing) Rudi’s sites infringe on our brand, logo and content. Hondon Villas would strongly argue that these new sites (.eu and .be) are a deliberate attempt to copy, confuse and disrupt our SEO Ranking and in particular our customer base and to the untrained eye is easly comparable in form and brand to our own www.hondonvillas.net website. This could, we beleive, result in loss of business, bad feeling, buyer confusion and set a precedent for similar unprofessional behaviour from other agents.
Original website : http://www.hondonvillas.net (since 2010)
Copycat website 1: http://www.hondonvillas.be (since Feb 2017)
Copycat website 2: http://www.hondonvillas.eu (since Feb 2017)
ITEMISED NOTES OF COMPLAINT
The following are examples of possible copyright infringement. Screen prints are taken during the last week in February 2017 / first week March 2017 unless other wise stated. The reader can judge for themselves the possible misdemeanours here or their similarity between the original or copycat.
Hondon Villas Logo & Slogan
The original Hondon Villas logo was designed in 2009. The colours used are a mid green, dark blue and white. Depending on the page background these colours are sometimes inter-mixed. So on a dark background the logo may have white writing. The font is a “sans-serif” Calibri font typeface (c/o Microsoft). Both the logos below use the same font and similar colours. The “strapline” slogan is again similar. Hondon Villas have consistently used “Buy, Sell or Rent”. You can see that the copycat logo uses “Buy, Build or Sell”.
Website Header, Email, Contact and Social Media Icons
Integral to the real Hondon Villas website is our contact details in the top-right corner. The copycat site is using a similar layout, font and style. Even the email address is similar.
USE OF “HONDON VILLAS” in CAPITALS
The copycat sites extensively use the term “Hondon Villas” usually in green text to suggest the word is an entity and a company. The copycat sites refer to the “Hondon Villas Team” or say “Hondon Villas” is part of a large Grupo company.
INFERRING “HONDON VILLAS” IS IN A GRUPO
The copycat website infers that “Hondon Villas” (.be) is in a bigger group (grupo). It is not – In fact this serves to confuse (or deceive) the reader! To be clear Rudi Slabbinck is a one-man band running at least 7 websites with different names and domains. He operates from a bedroom office and a car in Aspe. There is no Grupo to our knowledge. Rudi Slabbinck is a Belgium autonomo (self-employed).
EXPERIENCE? TRADING FOR MANY YEARS?
The real Hondon Villas (.net) was started by Maureen & Derek Cook in 2007 as a free property portal. In 2010 they registered the .NET domain name to make an official business after Maureen changed jobs. Maureen is and has been an Estate Agent for about 35 years, trained in the UK and Spain in the last 12 years. She was trained and worked for some of the biggest Real Estate companies in the UK and Medsea PLC in Spain.
The copycat sites claim copyright and trading for many years, since 2006. As Rudi Slabbinck only arrived in Spain about 2013, failed a B&B so left to go back to Belgium in 2015 and returned August 2016. It simply is not possible fro Rudi to claim trading since 2006, certainly not in Spain. Nor did Rudi have previous Real Estate experience. He stated that he sold ceramic tiles in Belgium (although we have not traced that fact).
MISUSE OF AIPP MEMBER’s LOGO
Reported and taken down
MISUSE OF CEPI-CEI MEMBERS LOGO
Badge in Footer
MISUSE OF OTHER’s IMAGES