The company alleges (pdf) the site was set up by a former franchisee in which it is involved in litigation.
Finding the alleged owner of the site was no small feat. The suit details Sylvan Learning’s attempts to track down the owner, starting with an inquiry to eNom’s whois privacy service. That lead the company to an address in London. A contact there said he used to offer a service where people could use his address when registering domain names. The trail then moved to India and then to a former franchisee in Ohio.
The site’s owner allegedly did more that just create the site to peeve Sylvan. He allegedly forwarded web traffic to the site from Sylvan’s corporate offices to competitor Huntington Learning Centers. He also allegedly bought Google Adwords for his site when someone searched for “Sylvan Franchises”.