NextCard, San Francisco, is suing Providian Financial Corp., alleging its Internet banner advertising is too similar to NextCard's and is meant to steer NextCard clients to Providian's Web site. In a suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, NextCard seeks unspecified damages for copyright and trademark infringement, false advertising, and unfair business practices. The Providian banners went online in June. "The only difference is the shade of orange in the background," said Richard Goebel, NextCard director of business development and marketing. At Providian, Jim Rowe, senior VP of e-commerce, said his company already had stopped running the banner when Next-Card sued. He also disputed the effect of the advertising, which used a thermometer showing dropping interest rates for cards. It only generated 2.5% of the traffic to Providian
's site during the week it ran, Mr. Rowe said.
Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.