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September 18, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Newburgh fireworks company seeks $3M from competitor for alleged website theft

A fireworks company is suing a competitor for $3 million for allegedly stealing its website and diverting customers.

July 4 Ever Co. of Newburgh, owned by Vincent Esposito of Staten Island, and an affiliate owned by his brother, Anthony, sued Fireworks Extravaganza Inc. of Newburgh on March 5 in federal court in White Plains.

Though competitors, Vincent Esposito claims, he and his brother used Extravaganza’s services from time to time, and Extravaganza’s owner, John Sagaria, had set up the July 4 Ever website. They remained friends, the complaint states, until a falling out in 2016.

Sagaria responded in an email that July 4 Ever had abandoned its website and stopped paying bills four years ago.

“I am more than willing to transfer the domain back to Mr. Esposito if he just pays his bills,” he said.

July 4 Ever has been shooting off fireworks in the tristate area for more than 20 years, according to the complaint. In 2002, Vincent Esposito says, he asked Sagaria and his Information Technology Corp. of Paramus, New Jersey, to create and maintain a website, and in 2003 to set up email accounts.

In 2007, Esposito agreed to let Sagaria switch servers but the paperwork, he claims, actually transferred July 4 Ever’s domain name to Sagaria’s company.

Sagaria allegedly advised Esposito that the transfer was a mistake and had been fixed. But in 2017, Esposito claims, he discovered that all web traffic and emails to his website were being diverted to Sagaria’s website.

As of today (March 13, 2019), entering the July4ever domain name takes one to Extravaganza’s website.

Esposito accuses Sagaria’s companies of trademark infringement, cyberpiracy, use of a name with intent to deceive, deceptive acts and conversion of assets.

He is demanding treble damages on at least $1 million in actual damages.

Esposito is represented by attorney Jared M. Lefkowitz of Manhattan.