Today, in a two-page ruling, Judge Steven R. Denton ruled against Michael Robertson in his motion for summary judgment with his lawsuit against me and the Freespire.com website. (Robertson wants to squash free speech and force freespire.com to be taken down because the site brings to light many of Robertson's questionable actions.) You can read the Tentative Ruling here, which was certified today in court.
In Judge Denton's ruling, he sites the nine different factors to be considered in such a trademark/domain name case, and then rightly concludes that the majority of these nine factors "weigh in the Defendant's favor." Score a point for freedom of speech.
A company can't force a site down on the basis of a trademark, just because the site is critical of that company or its management. Judge Denton addresses this concept in his ruling, "One of the ACPA's main objectives is the protection of consumers from slick internet peddlers who trade on the names and reputations of established brands. The practice of informing fellow consumers of one's experience with a particular service provider is surely not inconsistent with this ideal." For Robertson to prevail, he would have had to shown that I confused users at the Freespire.com website and that I then profited from that confusion. Considering I have never profited one dime from the Freespire.com site, that's a pretty ridiculous claim. Likewise, anyone can visit the freespire.com site and see if they think anyone could possibly be confused into assuming the site was part of Linspire.
I estimate (based on all the paper work filed by Robertson in the case), that so far Robertson has spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 on this lawsuit. I have spent next to nothing in my defense, and yet today I prevailed. It's nice having the law on your side. Lawyers have a saying, "If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If neither is on your side, pound the table." Today Robertson blew thousands of dollars having his legal team "pound the table," but fortunately, the law and the facts carried the day in Judge Denton's courtroom this morning.
As I've reported previously in my blog, the Freespire.com website is "dedicated to shedding light on the REAL Michael Robertson." (Visit: Freespire.com) I have seen Robertson go to great lengths to try and create a public persona which is very different from the one you will hear about from those who know him. Therefore, at Freespire.com, visitors can learn about the REAL Michael Robertson, directly from those who have worked closely with him.
I'm sure Robertson's lawyers get tired of losing, but as long as Robertson is crazy enough to pay them, I'm sure they'll gladly keep taking his money, even when they know the cases are groundless, no-win cases for Robertson. We all know what they say about a fool and his money...