David S. Touretzky|
800 Nordeen Drive
West Mifflin, PA 15122-1164
April 23, 2000
Timothy Q. Delaney
Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
455 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-5599
Dear Mr. Delaney:
I'm writing in reply to your letter of April 14, in which you accuse me of unauthorized use of the Amway trademark on a web site that I maintain. Your allegations are unfounded, and ridiculous on their face.
First, I am not using Amway's trademark to ``advertise'' my web site, as you put it. My web site is about Amway and its distributors, and so I use the the term ``Amway'' to refer, correctly, to your client.
Second, since my web site is called ``Amway Sucks!'', and its first page begins with the words ``Amway Sucks!'' in a large, bold, font, it is not possible that anyone could confuse my site with an official Amway site, or think that Amway condoned or endorsed it.
Third, you complain (without providing any evidence) that my web site is accessible through various Internet search engines, and therefore, someone looking for ``legitimate'' (sic) Amway sites might be directed to mine by mistake. My site is as legitimate as any other! I have the right to voice my opinions on Amway, I have the right to refer to Amway by name, and I am not responsible for how third-party Internet search engines respond to queries.
Fourth, you accuse me of engaging in ``trademark infringement'' and ``unfair competition.'' As you must know from reading my site, I am not engaged in trade of any sort. I am not selling anything, buying anything, or giving anything away. This accusation makes no sense.
Fifth, you accuse me of violations of the Lanham Act, including trademark dilution. The Lanham Act prohibits the unauthorized use in commerce of another's trademarks. It does not preclude one from writing or talking about a corporation simply because the corporate name is trademarked.
Since you are a lawyer specializing in intellectual property issues, I expect you are well aware of all of these facts. I am reminding you of them here to ensure that, should you file suit, you will have no refuge when I file for Rule 11 sanctions against you and your client.
The seriousness of the charges you raise, and their sheer vacuity, makes plain your real purpose in writing to me: to harass and intimidate me into giving up my First Amendment right to discuss Amway. I question whether your letter meets the ethical standards expected of members of the Illinois bar.
Dr. David S. Touretzky