Goldman in legal battle with hell-raising blogger

Goldman in legal battle with hell-raising blogger

A US man who writes a critical blog about Goldman Sachs has filed a lawsuit against the investment bank after it threatened legal action over his use of the goldmansachs666.com domain name.

Investment advisor Mike Morgan registered the domain name in March and is using it in a personal crusade against the bank.

At the top of his site Morgan states that it "has NOT been approved by Goldman Sachs" or has any affiliation with the firm.

It also says: "I believe this company is evil and should not exist, We need to begin to break up companies that have as much control over world finances as Goldman Sachs."

On 8 April, law firm Chadbourne & Park sent Morgan a cease-and-desist letter on behalf of Goldman, accusing him of violating intellectual property rights in relation to the domain name and demanding he stop using it.

The letter, published by Morgan on the site, says the use of the company's name "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".

The blogger has hit back, filing a complaint in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida asking it to declare he is the lawful owner of the domain and that it does not violate trade mark law.

Explaining the move, Morgan blogs: "David didn't beat Goliath by waiting till Goliath threw the first punch, so we thought that strategy worked pretty well...and we decided to follow it."

Goldman has received $10 billion in Tarp money from the US government, although yesterday it sold $5 billion of stock to help pay this back.

The US investment bank has taken domain name squatters to court in the past. In 2006 it filed suit against a Dutch resident who operated an adult service Web site under the domain goldmansex.com.

Finextra verdict: The devil, as they say, is in the detail. The FT's Alphaville column notes that Morgan is short on Goldman stock. "Which must mean, considering the bank’s recent rise, the Devil is defending his territory or God has a sense of cosmic irony."

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