By Bethany House PublishersThe federal government on Thursday sued Bethany house publisher BethanyHouse.com, accusing the publisher of conspiring with its competitor, Wackenhut Publishing, to increase their revenues.
The suit seeks a court order prohibiting Wackenheut from engaging in any activity that increases the prices or limits the competition for Bethany’s products, as well as a declaratory judgment that Bethany should be forced to pay the company for infringing its intellectual property.
“It is an unfortunate reality that Bethanys competitors are able to grow their businesses without Bethany’s assistance,” said Matthew Smith, a partner at the law firm Jones Day.
“We are going to be fighting this case vigorously.”
The lawsuit accuses Wackeningheut of conspiring to artificially inflate its profits by making it harder for Bethanies competitors to compete.
The suit also alleges that Bethanyl House Publishing is guilty of anticompetitive conduct, violating antitrust laws.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Bethanyhouse was founded in 2005 by Bethany Bessette and her husband, Mark Bessettes, who have been publishing for about 40 years.
Bethaneth House Publishing has more than 1,000 authors, including authors from other authors and from independent publishers.
The case is the latest skirmish between the publishing industry and the government.
Last year, the Department of Justice accused Wackenedheut, which publishes its books on a wide variety of electronic platforms, of conspiring in 2014 to raise prices and to limit competition in a bid to drive up its revenue.
Wackench is not named as a defendant in the suit.
Wackenhuts publisher, the independent Wackens Publishers Group, said in a statement that the lawsuit was “frivolous” and “warranted.”
The Wackenerges have not been identified as a target of the lawsuit.
The case is currently in the court’s public-relations phase.