Goldman Sachs certainly has its share of troubles these days but it's not about give up the little things that make life sweet. For instance, hiring a major Wall Street law firm to take down a blogger who may sully its sterling reputation.
The Manhattan investment bank - which is struggling amidst a massive global recession, owes $10bn to the US government in bailout funds, and last fall was forced to become a bank holding company with Treasury oversight due to worries it would run out of cash - has hired Chadbourne & Parke to close down the anti-Goldman website goldmansachs666.com.
Mike Morgan is a registered investment adviser who just a few weeks ago opened the site to push Goldman gripes and selection of conspiracy theories with posts like "Does Goldman Sachs Control the U.S. Government?" and "If Goldman Sachs Robbed Your House? What Would You Do?"
The law firm recently sent Morgan a cease-and-desist letter warning him he'll face legal action if he doesn't shutter the operation.
The legal threat doesn't say the posturing is due to any specific postings on the site, however. The lawyers are claiming Goldman customers can't tell the difference between the goldmansach666 blog and the bank's actual operations.
"Your use of the mark Goldman Sachs violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights, constitutes an act of trademark infringement, unfair competition and implies a relationship and misrepresents commercial activity and/or an affiliation between you and Goldman Sachs which does not exist and additionally creates confusion in the marketplace," the letter claims.
Morgan said he'll fight any legal action taken against him by Goldman Sachs and claims he's in the clear in part due to a lengthy disclaimer at the top of the blog reading:
This website has NOT been approved by Goldman Sachs, nor does this website have any affiliation with Goldman Sachs. This website was designed to provide information about Goldman Sachs direct from the public, and NOT from Goldman Sachs's marketing and public relations departments. You may find the Goldman Sachs website at www.goldmansachs.com
That's clue #1. There's also the constant anti-Goldman ranting throughout the site. And the mark of the beast in the URL. Always a good a tip-off (unless of course you're shopping for satanist supplies). The unfair competition claim is honestly a bit of a head scratcher as well, as the site doesn't sell anything.
But this isn't Goldman's first takedown based on a questionably close URL. Three years ago, the bank filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum claiming the website Goldmansex.com confused its clients. That particular website was a business billed as an "advertisement portal for adult entertainers," and therefore on far shakier ground legally. It went on the settle with Goldman and the URL is no more.
Either way the legal fight goes, it's good to see Goldman Sachs has its priorities in order. ®