For Immediate Release:
Boynton Beach, Florida Monday August 30, 1999 (Updated November 1, 1999)
Lilly Industries Inc. sued by Rick Schwartz over GoofOff.com
A small businessman in Boynton Beach, Florida, has taken on 134 -year-old corporate giant Lilly Industries, Inc. of Indiana. Rick Schwartz, owner of the domain "Goofoff.com" says his attorney Howard Neu has filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach Circuit Court against Lilly, Inc. for interfering with "Goofoff.com" and their web business.
Schwartz explains, "These 'corporate bullies' intimidate small firms and individuals into relinquishing domains through the threat of litigation despite the fact that they have no legal rights to the domain." Lilly Industries, Inc., claims rights to the domain that Schwartz owns called "Goofoff.com." Schwartz's domain "Goofoff.com" is an entertainment and travel site. Lilly Industries, Inc., holds a trademark on "Goof Off "which is a little known paint remover. Schwartz said, "The only "Confusion" is in their minds. Just another example of a large company that decided they can force a small business to succumb to their demands." According to Websters, a "Goof off" is a noun that means a person that wastes time or avoids work; a shirker. As such "Goofoff.com" is being used quite appropriately.
Schwartz said he was given 37 days by Network Solutions, a private company that registers domains, to either file a lawsuit or have the domain placed on hold until the matter is resolved .(Network Solutions has a long history of treating these issues like a hot potato and passing all expenses and burden of proof to the bona fide domain owner as they cave in to these corporate bullies.) "Why should this giant company put my site out of business?"
"These assaults on small businesspeople and individuals must stop." says Schwartz. He sites a favorable ruling on August 23rd in which the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals handed down for Avery Dennison Inc. vs. Sumpton. The court found that Sumpton's registration of "avery.net" and "dennison.net" as domain names does not dilute the Avery Dennison trademark. It overturned the lower courts ruling.
Most small businesspeople and individuals dont have the money or time that a lawsuit can easily cost and thus are unable to properly defend themselves. Their only recourse being to sacrifice the domain name or face financial ruin defending a potential 2-3 years of litigation. These "Fortune 500 Bullies" must be exposed explains Schwartz.. The high powered lawyers hired by these giant corporations to obtain domains that they have no legal right to have created literally thousands of victims. These victims do not have the financial resources to protect their rights to retain ownership of their own domain property. This practice violates everything that Americans hold dear with regards to the rights of the individual. It's a disturbing trend that must be stopped before more people that have turned to the web to do business are unfairly hurt and deprived of the American dream. The public needs to know how some of their favorite brand name companies have been using strong arm tactics and intimidation behind the scenes to procur these domain names. Mom's starting businesses in their kitchen and dads in their 6 x 6 office space are the most hard hit victims of these "corporate bullies" and they are literally defenseless to these attacks. It's heartless, needs to stop and the bullies need to be exposed.
Mr. Schwartz owns many .com domain names. His properties run anything from adult sites like voyeur.com and sneaky.com to domains such as tradeshows.com, ebid.com and fishingtackle.com. He also has partnered up in a traffic redistribution system at BestTraffic.com. Traffic comes in from all areas of the net and then it is categorized, targeted and then a qualified hit is sent to the sponsor. It's basically a "Hit distributor" explains Schwartz.
"Its time to draw a line between "Cybersquatting" which is the name these big corporations have decided to tag to anyone that has a domain that they want and legitimate rights of men and women that took the American Dream and made it a reality. Schwartz firmly agrees that trademark infringement is a serious problem on the web and there are many domains that do infringe on a "Famous" mark. However these "Corporate bullies" want your domain and your dream even when they know full well that they have only the power of money. Then it becomes a slam dunk as the individual is stripped of his legal assets. "It reminds me of how it must have been in the "Wild west" before law and order came to the scene to protect the settlers. It is time for the stockholders of these companies, the general public and the U.S. government to be made aware and tag these "Fortune 500 bullies" for the strong arm tactics and intimidation giant corporations use to take what does not belong to them!" Schwartz stated with more than a little anger in his words. "Enough is enough!"
Contact Mr. Rick Schwartz at email@example.com or 561-731-3306
Attorney Howard Neu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-431-3990
Email is the preferred contact method.
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Stories on this lawsuit:
The London Register story on goofoff.com September 2, 1999
Palm Beach Post article on
Lilly Industries and goofoff.com September 6, 1999
Update: November 1, 1999. Lilly industries has filed a countersuit against goofoff.com in Federal Court.
To date.......Voting is 100-1 in support of maintaining our ground and not caving into Lilly.
The biggest single confusion remains whether Lilly Industries and Eli Lilly are related. Both of Indianapolis Indiana and both in business for over 100years.
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