Average citizen Jake Freivald lives in West Orange, New Jersey and is the owner of the web domain, westorange.info. It is a bare bones site that provides basic information about his town, and there’s probably no chance in heck that anyone who would happen to visit might confuse it with the official West Orange website that looks like this. Again, look at Jake’s website and then look at the township’s site and ask yourself if you’d ever think that the former could be confused with the latter.
Apparently someone in the West Orange government believes that Jake’s website is actually causing confusion, so the township’s attorney, Richard D.Trenk, fired off a cease and desist to Jake with a bunch of fancy, big city legal terms.
Dear Mr. Freivald:
I am the Township Attorney for the Township of West Orange (“Township”). It has come to our attention that, on or about May 13, 2013, you registered and began to use the domain name “westorange.info” (the “Info Domain”). The Township interprets this action as an effort by you to confuse and conflate the Township’s official domain name and Web site with the Info Domain that you maintain.
The use of the Township’s name is unauthorized and is likely to cause confustion [sic], mistake or to deceive the public and may be a violation of the Township’s federally protected rights. The Info Domain falsely creates the impression that the Township is associated or affiliated with the Info Domain. At a minimum, this action has been taken with constructive knowledge of the Township’s name and Web site, and constitutes bad faith use of the Info Domain.
Accordingly, the Township demands that you cease and desist from use, ownership and maintenance of the Info Domain. The Township further demands that, within ten (10) days, the Info Domain be withdrawn from the current registrar, and that you cease all current and future use of the Info Domain, or anything else confusingly similar thereto.
The Township reserves all rights and remedies.
Please be guided accordingly.
Very truly yours,
Richard D. Trenk, Township Attorney
Now, I can’t speak for Jake or anyone else, for that matter, but any time I get anything even remotely legal in the mail, I freak out and curl up in a ball under my bed, praying for the bad men to go away. Jake, however, forwarded the letter to his own attorney, Stephen Kaplitt, who wrote what might be considered one of the most incredible and downright ballsy responses to any letter, let alone a cease and desist. Enjoy…