by Henry Charles Mishkoff

Chapter 1: The Legal-Sized Envelope

Donna Weighs In

I showed the letter to Donna, my girlfriend, not only because I thought that it might elicit a "poor baby" or two, but because she had grown up only a few miles from the law firm's office – and, in fact, only a few miles from the offices of The Taubman Company, the client on whose behalf Julie Greenberg was threatening me. Before I showed Donna the letter, I went to the website and plotted the route between the law office (labeled "START" on the map below) and the offices of The Taubman Company ("END"); Donna had lived in Franklin, which you'll spot near the lower-left corner of the map.

[Note: I'll need permission from Mapquest to use their map.]

As I had hoped, Donna was curious about the map; although she wasn't familiar with either The Taubman Company or the law firm of Gifford, Krass, Groh, Sprinkle, Anderson & Citkowski, she was very familiar with the area, and she enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce about the time that she had lived there.

But when I started to rant about lawyers and their threatening letters, Donna was nonplussed. "Why don't you just give it to them?" she suggested. "You have other fish to fry."

Although I was loath to admit it, Donna had a point. I had big plans for the website when I had first conceived of it. I would attend the groundbreaking ceremonies and write about them on the website. I would visit the construction site from time to time to document its progress. I would create an online discussion group so that people could exchange opinions and information about the mall. I would develop an interactive map of the mall, perhaps accompanied by a virtual-reality tour...

The actual (non-virtual) reality was that I had done none of those things. Instead, I had created a serviceable but undistinguished website. Work (and play) kept getting in the way of my good intentions. It's nice to have hobbies, but I'm also fond of earning a living, and I always seemed to have something to do that had a higher priority than creating a whiz-bang, state-of-the-art website about The Shops at Willow Bend.

In other words, as Donna pointed out, I had other fish to fry.

So, to answer Donna's question: Why didn't I just give it to them?

"I'll think about it," I said.

Which I did.

And one of the things I thought about was that it probably would be helpful to have more information about the reality behind the accusations that Julie Greenberg had made – which meant that this would be a good time to do some research into cybersquatting and trademark laws.

Next: Trademarks and Me

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