Today's breakfast reading included a rather embarrassingly unprofessional and generally snarky
threatening letter from
Pantea M. Garroussi of
Davis, Graham, & Stubbs, LLP, which I
had previously believed to be a reputable law firm here in Colorado. Though you wouldn't guess it
from her writing style, apparently Pantea actually is a lawyer and somehow managed to get
through law school and everything.
Last month, I'd gotten an amusingly heavy-handed "cease and desist" letter from Allyson Kissell
of Auto-trol Technology Corporation who
threatened all manner of legal mayhem over a webpage about
annoying website design that I'd written
some three years ago and not thought about since...at least up until getting Allyson's letter.
Now, there were a few problems with Allyson's claims of trademark violation and unfair
competition such as the situation in question not meeting the legal tests of either. Though
not the most critical, certainly the most amusing problem was that the trademark Allyson kept insisting was
being infringed upon was not held by Auto-trol Technology Corporation at all, but by two other unrelated
companies. My attorney, Darlene Cypser, Esq.,
dealt with these issues and more in
to Auto-trol Technology Corporation dated March 21st, 2003.
| ...the bold
approach of stating that the legal tests for trademark infringement are "irrelevant"... |
Now, three weeks later, Pantea Garroussi has written a response to Darlene's letter on
Auto-trol Technology's behalf. While she doesn't manage to scrape up any legal citations or examples of
case law to give as counterarguments to those cited by Darlene, Pantea does take the bold
approach of stating that the legal tests for trademark infringement are "irrelevant,"
Though Pantea is unable to muster any legal backing for Auto-trol Technology's position,
she does insist that there is "actual confusion of Auto-trol Technology's customers and business partners" who are
unable to tell the difference between the two websites and, apparently, cannot distinguish fictional
bad website design services from Auto-trol Technology's real product line. That's pretty scary. Pantea
even claims they have been receiving "numerous phone calls" about this. I wonder how many they get
about all the other real companies and products whose names are variations on Autotrol or Auto-trol.
Personally, I think that if you're coming out with products that your own customers and business partners
can't distinguish from a joke, then maybe you should really be working on improving those products, not
flinging random and ill-considered legal threats around.
But, that's just me. They may just not feel that they have much hope for product improvement. I don't know
anything about their products, so I won't even try to speculate.
Anyway, Pantea throws in a few more gratuitous personal attacks just for fun. I think the bit about how I
"spew distorted amateur pontifications on trademark law" is particularly ironic, coming from someone who
can't muster any legal arguments at all. I am an amateur--and I haven't ever claimed otherwise--but what's
Pantea's excuse? Seems to me that the standards for legal professionals who putatively specialize in a
given branch of law and are operating in their professional capacity should be higher than they are for the
random personal ramblings of a humorist/computer geek, not lower.
I'm not, however, reproducing the whole of Pantea's diatribe here, considering that the main thrust of it was actually
to state that Auto-trol Technology has gone and registered (!) the copyright on their last cease-and-desist letter
and they are demanding that I remove all copies of it from the internet and destroy any and all paper and
electronic copies in my possession, lest I face "dire" consequences. Eeek!
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?