Hasbro, the $4 billion dollar a year toy maker, filed suit in federal court in Boston early in 1997. (Probably because they weren't being successful in getting the domain name by using NSI against us.) Here is all the info on how we successfully sued NSI to stop them from turning off the domain name.
Why sue us? Because they claim the "clue.com" violates their trademark on the board game "Clue". Hasbro is arguing that only they have a right to use the word "clue" in any manner, any where. This completely ignores trademark law, and the seven other companies who hold trademarks on the word "clue", as well as numerous people and businesses named "clue". Hasbro admitted to us early on that there really wasn't any infringement, that they just want clue.com to use for a web site about their game. Not surprising, for a company that allegedly stole the game Monopoly. See the Anti-Monopoly web site for info on this claim
Here are some of the filings, pleadings, the judges decision, etc.
1 March 2001 - FINAL ENTRY
Hasbro has not filed to have Judge Woodlock's decision reviewed by the US Supreme Court in the time allowed. Therefore, Clue® (tm) wins again! This is finally over as far as we know. After five years in court, Hasbro was unable to win anything useful to them, and did nothing but continue to ruin thier reputation and waste investors cash. Along the way, Clue® Computing had to pay over $100k in expenses, not counting lost revenue. It's estimated that Hasbro's expenses were in the $300-500k range, given the large number of law firms used, number of briefs filed, etc. Hasbro is rumoured to have laid off a number of in house lawyers. No word on what they may have done to their outside counsel. We hope they dispatched assassins. This case proves that the little guy can win, that corporations like Hasbro can't always buy legal outcomes with harassment and bullying, and that Lady Justice sometimes beats idiots like Jackie Chan beats up street gangs.
We're very grateful to Phil Dubois and Tom Mullen, the attorneys who were willing to take a chance on what seemed to be an unwinnable case. The law firm of Oppedahl and Larson was also helpful beyond belief in giving advice and assisting with obtaining a trademark for Clue® Computing. Thanks to you all. You represent all that's good in the legal profession.
8 November, 2000 Hasbro loses again! The appeal decision came in 7 November, 2000. No word yet on if they'll continue fighting, or accept the multiple decisions against them.
27 Aug 2000 - The court date has been set for oral arguments in the appeal. The arguments take place on 15 Sept, 2000, in the 1st Circuit Court Of Appeals in Boston.
25 May, 2000 - Hasbro finally filed thier appeal. A copy is in the 'filings' above. We'll be finishing up our rebuttal, and posting it Real Soon Now.
Much to Hasbro's dismay, we're not giving in to their tyranny. A number of other domain name owners have, and we understand why. It's incredibly expensive and difficult to stand up to Hasbro, or any huge entity. Despite repeated attempts by Clue's legal staff and President, Hasbro refuses to negotiate any settlement. Amazingly enough, Hasbro refused to answer many of the requests for information during the discovery phase of the suit, claiming that tiny Clue Computing was being "oppressive"... One hopes that the people who suffered and died at the hands of Hitler, Pol Pot, and other genocidal regimes will be able to forgive Hasbro for not knowing what oppression is.
Why? Well, Clue® is a company with one full time employee, and a few part timers. We've been fighting huge companies for over four years now, and paying for more lawyers than any of us ever thought we'd need in our lifetimes. This is basically a contest to see who can hold out the longest before going bankrupt, and since Hasbro, Inc. made about $4 billion last year, it's not likely to be the folks who just want to make a living here at Clue® Computing. We need several things in order to continue this unprecedented case:
We need *YOU* to let Hasbro know how you feel about this. You can call Hasbro at 1-800-327-8264 or (401) 431-8697.
You can email their "Customer Care" at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can email their "Consumer Support" at: email@example.com
You can email their lawyer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact their Investor Relations at: (If you have a 401(k) or IRA you probably own some of Hasbro. Don't forget to call or write your fund managers and let them know how you feel about investing in companies that actively try to screw up the internet)
Renita E. O'Connell voice (401)727-5401
Vice President, Investor Relations
1011 Newport Ave.
Pawtucket, RI 02862
Give them with your comments about this abuse of the Domain Name System.
You can write (snail-mail gets a lot of attention!) to Hasbro at:
Hasbro, Inc. 1027 Newport Ave. Pawtucket, RI 02861
Please remember to be polite. It's possible that these folks never heard of this suit, and even if they have, you'll be more persuasive if you're civil.
Here's the folks you probably want to address letters to:
Alan G. Hassenfeld Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Herbert M. Baum President and Chief Operating Officer
Harold P. Gordon Vice Chairman
John T. O'Neill Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Alfred J. Verrecchia Executive Vice President, Global Operations and Development
Virginia H. Kent Senior Vice President and Sector Head, Toys
E. David Wilson Senior Vice President and Sector Head, Games
George B. Volanakis Senior Vice President and Sector Head, International Businesses
Richard B. Holt Senior Vice President and Controller
Cynthia S. Reed Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Douglas J. Schwinn Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Martin R. Trueb Senior Vice President and Treasurer
Phillip H. Waldoks Senior Vice President - Corporate Legal Affairs and Secretary
Lastly, (and it *REALLY* pains us to say this) we need cash to pay the lawyers. Legal defense ate about 25% of our revenue the first year, and for 1997 it was over 50%. 1998 was even worse. If you'd Like to send some cash which will be used ONLY for the defense of our domain name, you can send a check payable to:
Philip L. Dubois Attorney Trust Account (include a note that it's for the clue.com case)
and mail it to:
Philip L. Dubois
1749 South 8th Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80906-1968
Last updated: 5/28/02