[rumori] Leonardo art journal victory in infringement suit

From: Steev Hise (steevATdetritus.net)
Date: Fri Jun 01 2001 - 09:52:55 PDT



San Francisco/Paris 29 May 2001

More info: http://mitpress.mit.edu/Leonardo; leoATmitpress.mit.edu

On Monday 28 May 2001 a three-judge panel in Nanterre, France, issued a
preliminary ruling dismissing all of the charges filed by Transasia
Corp. and Leonardo Finance against the international arts organization
Association Leonardo.

On 18 November 1999, Transasia Corp. and Leonardo Finance had filed a
lawsuit claiming $1 million in damages against the 30-year-old
international arts network Leonardo. Transasia charged trademark
infringement and claimed also that they had lost business because their
clients searching the Internet using the keyword "Leonardo" were
mistakenly being diverted to the Leonardo arts organization web sites
rather than to the venture capital firm's web site.

The judges stated in summary:

* Since Leonardo Finance and Transasia groups and the Leonardo arts
organization have totally distinct and non-competing activities and
services, there is no trademark infringement, even though both parties
use a common communication medium--the Internet.

* In addition, since none of the services or products offered via the
two parties' web sites are similar or competing, there is no trademark
infringement or basis for the lawsuit.

* The ruling acknowledges the right of the arts organization Association
Leonardo to use the title Leonardo.

The three-judge panel therefore dismissed the lawsuit filed against the
Leonardo arts organization.

No costs were awarded. Both parties have a month to appeal.

This preliminary ruling represents a major victory for Leonardo, a
30-year-old arts network that has championed the work of artists using
science and technology.

The Leonardo community of artists, scientists, scholars and engineers
successfully mobilized to raise funds for the Leonardo Legal Defense
Fund using a number of on-line tactics and strategies.

The IRIS civil rights network mobilized an on-line protest campaign
(http://www.iris.sgdg.org/actions/leonardo), resulting in thousands of
e-mail messages being sent by Leonardo supporters to the CEO of
Transasia protesting the lawsuit--these were then deposed in evidence.

Funds were raised through benefits and on-line auctions, and a number of
on-line protest actions successfully brought attention to the case,
which was filed by Transasia in the heat of the late 1990s Internet mania.

One on-line protest action included an on-line competition organized by
RTMark (http://www.rtmark.com), which resulted in the posting of
numerous protest web sites on the web, many of which became the
top-ranked web sites for on-line searches for the word "Leonardo." An
international art group organized an effort to provide downloadable
on-line Leonardo Defense banners (http://leonardo.c3.hu) for use on
supporting websites, resulting in the arts organization's web sites'
steady rise in search engine results. Letter of support were sent by art
groups and schools worldwide, including the International Art Critics
Association, ISEA, ART TOPOS, the Langlois Foundation, the University of
Paris I, ASCI, ANAT, and CAiiA-STAR among others.

Rock House Farm in Virginia named a newborn ram Leonardo in support of
the organization's legal defense
(http://www.rockhousefarm.com/leonardo.htm); this ram had a first
offspring, also named Leonardo, born this spring. Knitted clothing from
the original Leonardo ram was auctioned on-line to raise additional
funds for the legal defense.

The Leonardo network takes this opportunity to thank all those who lent
energy and resources to allow Leonardo to defend itself in court.

Further information on the lawsuit will be put online at the
organization's web sites:




For further information contact <leoATmitpress.mit.edu>.


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