Tuesday, October 16, 2007
How not to write a cease-and-desist letter: Comparing the Dozier Internet Law threat letters against InfomercialScams and InvendorEd
Do you want to have your reputation ruined, pay a million dollar fine, and in general tick everyone off? If so, Dozier Internet Law is the law firm for you! But if the thought of being in the presence of "Super Lawyer" John "Bull" Dozier is too intimidating, you can examine the form that Dozier seems to use to wreck their clients. (Just note that Dozier thinks US law likely will not govern the matter!
Our friend Donald E. Morris of Dozier Internet Law (presumably not a "super-lawyer" like his boss, John W. Dozier, Jr.,) is at it again. After threatening Infomercial Scams over its warnings against DirectBuy, now DonJohn is attacking Inventor Ed for statements on Inventor-Link.
This post compares the DirectBuy and Inventor-Link threat letters. The sections below are in order, except for "Legitimate Free Speech" which floats between the letters.
Section: "Please be advised"
Please be advised that our firm has been retained by DirectBuy, Inc. to investigate and take legal action against you for the series of unwarranted and defamatory attacks against it made by you and your visitors on your various websites. Specifically, these websites are www.infomercialblog.com, www.infomercialratings.com, and www.infomercialscams.com.
Please be advised that our firm has been retained by Inventor-Link, LLC to investigate and take legal action against you for engaging in the following activities (1) defamation of our client, (2) tortious (sic) interference with our client’s business; and (3) violation of our client’s website User Agreement.
Section: "Our Client"
DirectBuy, Inc., has been in business for over 35 years and has provided consumers with the opportunity to save on products for their homes through its members only program. Our client provides its members with access to thousands of products and provides a high level of customer service. DirectBuy has established a well founded reputation for the quality of its services and customer satisfaction and your unwarranted actions and baseless accusations have damaged that reputation and adversely affected our client's business.
Our client provides a professional service to inventors worldwide employing an experienced staff and a well-developed system for evaluation and development of inventors’ ideas. It provides prospective inventors with clear information and disclaimers, and it is very selective with regard to whom it chooses to represent.
Your have personally posted many willfully false and misleading comments about our client. Examples of your defamatory statements include:
- "Direct Buy Nightmare" --- www.informercialscams.com;
- "all scams are posted uncensored!" -- www.informercialscams.com
- You are reporting the following SCAM" -- www.informercialscams.com; and
- "Recently, we noticed a sudden influx of 4 and 5 star ratings for the Direct Buy program... We don't know if Direct Buy is behind this or not. But we do have our suspicions given the fact that the reviews came from the SAME LOCATION, say the same thing, and highlightpoints that most cusomters wouldn't be concerned with." -- www.infomercialblog.com
You have willfully posted false and defamatory comments about our client on numerous websites, including Inved.Org, InventBlog.com and About.com. Moreover, in republishing statements found on our client’s website, after having misrepresented yourself as a prospective customer, you also violated our client’s website User Agreement as well as state and federal laws.
Defamatory statements that we have found include, but are not limited to:
- “Who is behind it? They use Paypal ® so no way to find out. Only the shadow knows and he’s not talking at present.”
- “Thus far three inventors (two from the northern England and one from Ireland) may become victims unless they take heed and it looks like they are.”
- “There is an Oregon-based invention company targeting UK inventors for enormous upfront fees (CS, 000 - £10,000) BEFORE they know what they are buying ($10,000 -$20,000).
- “Plus, why would a US-based company ONLY target UK inventors when the US has many more inventors and free resources to find them? It makes no sense unless UK inventors have proven easy prey compounded by the fact that litigation for UK inventors would be out of the question due to issues such as (a) jurisdiction, and (b) cost of a lawsuit across the pond”
- “He was suspicious wanting to know how I got his phone number, where I live, what is my full name...etc. Very weird (Spanish inquisition format)”
- “Upon site entry and after reading the usual prom promotional diatribe one fills in a generic “tell us who you are and what you have “form. Eventually one receives a free “Smart-Start Evaluation Program” (the bait).”
- “their Evaluation appears to represent an incomplete rendition of PIES (Preliminary Innovation Evaluation System) pioneered in the 1970s by Dr. Gerald Udell”
- ‘Hit Paypal’s “Submit” button and it is all over but the shouting One will never know who/where that money was cashed by.”
- “Of course, they are going to counter with “we don ‘t do any marketing or licensing” or for that matter ANYTHING!”
- “inventors being required to remit money via Paypal® before knowing exactly what they are buying.”
- “They are moving into dangerous territory for several reasons by seemingly practicing law without a license.”
- “there appears to be NO contract (b) allegedly they write patents which is illegal.”
- “Their resumes and CVs are confidential because they have nothing of consequence anyone would consider credible! Likely they were all former pen pushers while they worked for invention companies to learn the ropes.”
- “Hiding and Evasiveness appears to be something they are very good at.”
- “Bottomline: they’d rather “waste you" than let you in on who they really are. It's an old, old salesman's tactic -evasiveness rears it’s ugly head again.”
- “No wonder they operate in Hiding and are Evasive.”
- “It is but one more way to hide who is behind this enterprise.”
- “Who are these fools anyway!?!”
- Is it a scam, you ask? Let’s just say they “extrapolate” money out of UK inventors with a big smile on their faces as they head for the bank! http://inventblog.com/2007/0 7/who-is-inventor-linkcom.html”
- “Take a look here: http://inventblog.com/2007/0 7/who-is-inventor-linkcom.html"
- Here’s a new one being “worked”for more material from current/former clients you might learn something from too: http://inventblog.com/2007/08/who-is-pacific-world-marketing.htm/#comment-2151”
- “It’s not even a Marketing Plan and obviously it would appear they don’t personally DO anything other than provide this stupid document you can put together yourself - - - even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again!”
- “Why would a US based company only target foreign inventors one wonders. One reason, assuming what he stated is true, has to do with jurisdictional issues. It would be very hard for a UK inventor to get monies back from a foreign company (it is registered in Delaware as a corporation).”
- “Anyway, glad to have spared you all that wasted money. What shysters!”
- “Your invention is not what they are after......................if you get my point.”
- “More likely than not the generic evalation they did for your invention will be “exactly” the same as the one provided to an inventor I’m in communication with.”
- “(one assumes you’ve already received results from their free “Smart-Start Evaluation Program.") And what a load of crap that is. It’s a generic “evaluation” (Who is giving it? What are their credentials to evaluate anything?! More importantly who owns this outfit?!!)”
The above statements made in reference to DirectBuy, Inc are utterly false and without merit, and they are defamatory per se in that they depict our client as engaging in fraudulent activity that violates civil and criminal law.
These statements are defamatory in that they are utterly false and malign our client’s reputation by stating that its business practices are centered around ‘preying’ on UK inventors and that it is ‘hiding’ behind a ‘scam’ that provides ‘nothing’ of substance to ‘victimized’ customers. Even though you have presented these disparaging remarks as from an inventor guide’s perspective, your attempts to inform inventors have crossed the line in many ways and on multiple websites revealing a malicious intent on your part to harm our client. Much of the information you received from our client was retrieved through misrepresenting yourself and has been intentionally mischaracterized by you in order to drive customers away from retaining our client.
Additionally, you actively encourage and solicit defamatory statements from customers on your www.infomercialratings.com and www.infomercialscams.com websites. According to a recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC, 389 F. 3rd 921 (9th Cir. 2007)] you likely have serious financial exposure to DirectBuy.com for each and every one of the defamatory statements made by your visitors. Furthermore, your actions have also resulted in damages to our client and its franchisees in Canada, subjecting you to claims in that country as well.
In addition to the defamatory statements that have been published, your actions have also violated our client’s website User Agreement. This Agreement states explicitly:
By using this site you agree and understand that the HTML code, look, feel, content, company name, logo, text, and any likeness or derivative of such content is the sole property of Inventor-Link LLC and may not be used in any manner without the expressed written permission of Inventor-Link LLC. Furthermore, we strict/y prohibit any links and or other unauthorized references to our web site without our permission.
You have not received permission to use text from our client’s website, and yet you have republished the following text:
“Official Site of Inventor-Link LLC - Your Link to Success for Your... We know how to get your idea from a rough sketch to a finished product in the marketplace. If your idea has what it takes, we can help you get the results you want. ...www.inventor-link.com”
You have associated your disparaging remarks with bona fide text from our client’s website with the purpose of harming our client’s business and diverting actual and potential customers. By using legitimate text that rightfully belongs to our client you are in violation of its website User Agreement.
Your attempts to spread libelous and defamatory material about our client have caused serious and irreparable injury to it, its reputation, and its business. Our client will not stand by and allow this misconduct to continue.
Section: "We hereby demand that you"
We hereby demand that you:
- Immediately remove from all of your websites all defamatory and disparaging remarks regarding our client made by you and your visitors, and
- Immediately cease and desist in publishing defamatory statements about our client, whether the statements are made by you or third parties, and
- Compensate our client for its attorney fees and costs
We hereby demand that you:
- Immediately remove and retract all defamatory and disparaging remarks regarding our client from all posts and publications;
- Immediately cease and desist in publishing defamatory comments about our client;
- Immediately remove and retract all text that was copied from our client’s website; and
- Compensate our client for damages it has suffered as a result of your activity, and for all Attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in relation to this matter.
Section: "Legitimate Free Speech
Please not that this law firm does not attempt to restrict legitimate free speech, and we believe that the Internet is an important medium for dissemination of accurate and truthful information and for fair comment on issues of interest. Your activities, however, unlawfully encroach upon our client's rights.
It is not our intention to restrict legitimate free speech, for we believe that the Internet is an important medium for dissemination of accurate and truthful information and for fair comment on issues of public importance. Your activities, however, violate our client’s rights. In the statements listed above, you have depicted our client as a company that: 1) is ‘fly-by-night’ and does not have an experienced staff; 2) ‘hides’ and does not work at the address they provide to prospective customers for the purpose of ‘evading’ them; 3) does not provide unique evaluations to prospective customers; 4) does not provide a contract and/or clear description of its service to its paying customers; and 5) does not substantively serve it’s customers beyond collecting its fees. These conclusions, along with your statements in support of these conclusions, are false and their continued publication increases the damages you have already caused to our client.
Section: "This letter puts you on notice"
This letter puts you on notice that should you refuse to comply with our demands by September 28, 2007, we will have no choice but to recommend that our client pursue all legal causes of action, including the filling of a lawsuit, to protect its interests. We will pursue both damages and attorneys' fees and costs incurreed by our client as a result of your actions.
This letter puts you on notice that should you refuse to comply with our demands by October 18, 2007, we will have no choice but to recommend that our client pursue all legal causes of action, including a lawsuit based on the foregoing claims, to protect it and its business interests. We will pursue damages, attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by our client as a result of your actions.
Section: "strongly recommend"
This is a very serious matter that requires your immediate attention. We therefore strongly recommend that you contact us immediately to address and resolve this situation. This letter is your one and only chance to resolve this matter amicably.
We strongly recommend that you contact us immediately to address and resolve this situation.
Please be aware that this letter is copyrighted by our law firm, and you are not authorized to republish this in any matter. Use of this letter in a posting, in full or in part, will subject you to further legal causes of action.
That's it! Happy kirking!
QUOTE: "Please be aware that this letter is copyrighted by our law firm, and you are not authorized to republish this in any matter." END QUOTE.
Note, it says: "YOU are not authorised" - 'you' being the addressee, i.e. Mr Justin E Leonard. Doesn't that imply that anyone else IS authorised to republish?
Just a thought!
Posted by: Jon | Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Presumably not, but given speculation about Dozier and Donald Morris's motives , who knows!
I like your post , btw.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I am still looking for a legal eagle to help InventorEd.org file complaints against Super Lawyer John "Bull".... Dozier and his merry band.
If I am not mistaken there is cause to give him a chance to explain his and his colleague's conduct:)
Just a reminder that he and his client received much more than they bargained for. See www.CyberTrialLawyer-SUCKS.com and www.InventorEd.org/caution/inventor-link/ for an example of how I think that threats of SLAPP actions should be dealt with. Personally I think that leaving all those sucks domains available says volumes about the firm's competence.
Just do a Google search for Bull Dozier Law, and you will see that his new SUCKS web presence rates higher than his own web site.
Ronald J. Riley,
President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.
Posted by: Ronald J Riley | Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Congrats on moving up three places in the "Dozier Internet Law" rannkings, btw, in spite of John W. Dozier Jr buying more of his spam domains:
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, November 28, 2007