HOWTO: defend yourself against domain trademark shakedowns

Via Boing Boing

Hank’s TaubmanSucks site exhaustively details the legal wranglings that ensued when he registered a domain with the same name as a mall that was under construction near him, for the purpose of posting fannish reviews of the mall once it had opened. The mall’s lawyers, halfway across the country, brought him to court for trademark infringment, and Hank defended himself, with help from advocacy groups like Public Citizen and the ACLU, and eventually prevailed. He’s detailed every step of his work from initial letter right through to judgement — it’s practically a HOWTO for defending yourself from routine trademark shakedowns

2 Replies to “HOWTO: defend yourself against domain trademark shakedowns”

  1. I don’t know whether to thank you for posting the link, or blame you for the four hours I just spent reading through the entire site 🙂


  2. The Inside Story

    For those who do not know me I founded the Professional Inventors Alliance in 1993, and in 1995 I became one of the key people driving the creation of the Alliance for American Innovation whose goal was to stop so called patent reform legislation and to create a voice for independent inventor interests in Washington, DC. In 1995 I started an organization to educate independent inventors and incorporated it as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 1998. My passion is innovation and First Amendment issues.

    As background information it is important to mention that this is the same Taubman who was convicted in the Sotheby’s art auction house scandal.

    These is a bit more to this case. I was contacted by a journalist about Hank Mishkoff because of the role I played in defending Mrs. Tibbets as detailed on At this point Mr. Hank Mishkoff was defending himself and not fairing too well. Taubman had prevailed in getting an order shutting down the fan web site and Mr. Mishkoff had put up a sucks web site in response.

    The first thing I did was contact Mr. Krass at GIFFORD, KRASS, GROH, SPRINKLE, ANDERSON & CITKOWSKI of Birmingham, Michigan because I knew him as a result of his relationship with a personal friend and inventor named Mike Levine. I suggested to Mr. Krass that suing a fan was very poor judgment and that they should end this case. He did not respond well, and shortly after the contact an order was issued shutting down Mr. Mishkof’s sucks web site about Mr. Taubman.

    I was outraged by the court’s attack on the First Amendment and responded by creating, contacting Mr. Mishkoff and suggesting that he contact Paul Levy with the Public Citizen Litigation Group. Paul Levy had helped deal with threats of litigation by Edward B. Friedman (Invention Submission Corporation’s attorney I then called and wrote Paul Levy about the Mishkoff case, pleading the case that he should step into the case.

    Paul Levy took the case, and he kicked the crap out of Taubman. I have little doubt that if Paul Levy had not stepped into the case that the outcome would have been much different.

    Ronald J. Riley, Exec. Dir.
    1323 West Cook Road.
    Grand Blanc, MI 48439
    Direct (810) 597-0195, Off (810) 936-4356

    Also President

    And former advisory board president of the Alliance for American Innovation 1995-2002.

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