Lawyers for Goldman Sachs are threatening a federal lawsuit against a blog that is critical of the investment bank.
The website “Facts About Goldman Sachs” states that it is an “open forum for facts and discussion about what part Goldman Sachs and their executives played in the current Global Economic Crisis.” It is, as you can imagine, extremely critical of the investment bank. Now lawyers from the law firm Chadbourne & Parke have sent a letter to the proprietor, Mike Morgan, claiming that the website’s URL, goldmansachs666.com, infringes on the investment bank’s trademark.
“Your use of the mark GOLDMAN SACHS violates several of Goldman Sachs’ intellectual property rights, constitutes an act of trademark infringement, unfair competition and implies a relationship and misrepresents commercial activity and/or an affiliation between you and Goldman Sachs which does not exist and additionally creates confusion in the marketplace,” Goldman’s lawyer writes. (The full letter is below.)
The letter goes on to threaten legal action if Morgan does not stop using the name Goldman Sachs.
Morgan has struck a defiant pose, vowing the battle Goldman in court. “Needless to say, we will most likely fight this one in court with Goldman Sachs and now we will expedite adding relevant content to this website,” he writes.
We’re not experts in trademark law. But it strikes us as extremely unlikely that anyone would think that Morgan’s website is affiliated with Goldman Sachs. If the content weren’t clearly anti-Goldman, the disclaimer at the top of the website should make that clear:
This website has NOT been approved by Goldman Sachs, nor does this website have any affiliation with Goldman Sachs. This website was designed to provide information about Goldman Sachs direct from the public, and NOT from Goldman Sachs’s marketing and public relations departments. You may find the Goldman Sachs website at www.goldmansachs.com.
The unfair competition claim is laughable, since no services are being offered for sale at all on the site. It certainly isn’t engaged in any investment banking business. Also, the website does not even appear on the first page of search results for “Goldman Sachs.”
It seems far more likely that Goldman is annoyed at the critical website and wants to see it stifled. Goldman declined to comment for this article.