Jews for Jesus Redux (or, the Second Filing)
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday, seeks to force Google to give Jews for Jesus control of the site as well as unspecified monetary damages.
“We have a right to our own name and Google has allowed the use of our name on Blogspot without our permission,” said Susan Perlman, associate executive director with Jews for Jesus.
“Our reputation is at stake,” Perlman told Reuters.
Some things never change. Sue’s a nice girl; she doesn’t lie under oath, and (unlike most of Jews for Jesus’ leadership and membership) is even Jewish. She is very misguided, however; here’s a little about the reputation of her employer. Here’s some more. And here — and criticism, by the way, is not limited to those who reject Messianic “Judaism.” Because this organization’s entire modus operandi is the lie, I am sure “reputational” damages will not be the sole damages sought by Jews for Jesus. (UPDATE: But what about a sense of humor, Sue?)
Anyone from the blog — or from Google — who wants to discuss this litigation with me, the defendant’s attorney in the Jews for Jesus v. Brodsky travesty of yore, give me a ring. I’ve thought and litigated a lot about this trademark. So has Paul Winick, the Thelen Reid partner who’s representing Jews for Jesus as he did in the Brodsky case.
UPDATE: Here’s a freebie for the first of Chanukah!
Evidently, trademark survey experts are less comfortable representing Jews for Jesus than Thelen Reid. Jews for Jesus — which has plenty of cash — nonetheless had to ask for (and was granted) a long extension of the discovery period to secure a survey expert because no one in the field with a reputation worth paying for would work with them! They ultimately engaged an expert whom we were prepared, based on transcripts from other engagements, to, er, crucify on the stand. The case settled after the submission of the pretrial order (no, it did not end with the preliminary injunction!), and before the trial. Here’s dollars to donuts that if they reach this stage again, they use the same tainted expert — or worse!
UPDATE: Justin Levine of CalBlog wonders if I really mean it, writing,
I have to wonder if Mr. Coleman really gets the problem with overbroad ‘cybersquatting’ laws in general, or if he is just coveniently cherry-picking his arguments because he doesn’t like the group in question. You can’t selectively use intellectual property concepts to only punish those you disagree with (otherwise I would have cheered on Fox News for in their frivolous claim agianst Al Franken) – this is an either/or proposition I’m afraid.
The blog doesn’t allow comments or provide email addresses that I could find, so excuse me if I use this space to say, Don’t be afraid, Justin! If you were familiar with what we’ve posted here over the course of the last year I think you’d find us pretty consistent on these issues — which is not to say that one size fits all cases. In fact, in the original Jews for Jesus v. Brodsky case (which was filed prior to the enactment of the Anti-Cybersquatting “Consumer” Protection Act) Jews for Jesus had meritorious legal arguments — the problem was that their true merits could not be determined from the opinion, because the judge simply chose to weigh none of Steven Brodsky’s arguments or, in the case of the First Amendment, even acknowledge that the arguments had been made, explicitly lying in the opinion by claiming that no free speech issues were raised or at issue in the case.
(In our view, by the way, the real problems were not the First Amendment claims but the disastrous — for many subsequent litigants — and utterly dishonest holdings in connection with “commercial use” of the trademark as required in by the dilution statute, and the enshrinement of the more than dubious “initial interest confusion” doctrine.) Once again, we explained it all here.
UPATE: A correspondent challenged me on the “Jewish leadership” point, which I concede. With at least one notable exception, the J4J leadership is evidently mostly Jewish. Their children and certainly grandchildren aren’t likely to be, but, regrettably, they are.