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09|02|2009 05:12 pm EDT

Wolfgang Puck Starts .Food Fight Over Top Level Domain

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Legal Issues

After teaming up with Wolfgang Puck to launch a bid for the .FOOD gTLD in June of this year, consulting firm Minds+Machines has now filed a complaint (along with Frederick R. Krueger) against the celebrity chef claiming that he has breached the contract and is also suing his wife, Gelila Puck, for fraudulent behavior.

The lawsuit claims that Mind+Machines and Wolfgang Puck agreed to apply for .FOOD using the celebrity chef’s name, image, likeness, signature, photograph, and voice to promote the new TLD. However, Gelila Puck interjected herself into the relationship and caused substantial damage to Minds+Machines’ business through forceful, abusive, and erratic actions.

“Gelila Puck represented to Plaintiffs that she had many conections she could share with Minds+Machines that would result in additional top-level domain customers for Minds+Machines”, the lawsuit states. “None of Gelila Puck’s purported connections resulted in more than an initial introduction… Perhaps because her own attempts at business development failed, Gelila Puck systematically undermined and interfered with Minds+Machines existing clients.

For example, Gelila publicly and personally insulted an agent for professional football player Dhani jones, with whom Minds+Machines was working in connection with <.LOVE>. Gelila also publicly insulted an associate of Shaquille O’Neal, with whom Minds+Machines had been working with in connection with <.BASKETBALL>… During the ICANN meeting in Sydney, Australia, Gelila Puck shouted within earshot of dozens of ICANN participants, that Minds+Machines should not proceed with its application for <.ZULU>, which had already been approved by the King fo the Zulu nation with assistance of the daughter of the President of the Republic of South Africa.

Gelila’s public insulting of Minds+Machines’ clients is likely to substantially impact Minds+Machines’ business and damage Minds+Machines’ reputation and future income.”

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the Pucks sent a letter to Minds+Machines demanding to particpate in almost every top-level domain name project that Minds+Machines is developing and alleging that Minds+Machines infringed on Mr. Puck’s trademarks.

“Obviously we didn’t take this action lightly,” said Antony Van Couvering of Minds+Machines. “We realize that suing any business associate is bound to raise eyebrows and bring a smile to our competitors. But so be it — we don’t feel that we have any choice.”

Minds+Machines are seeking upwards of $5 Million in measurable damages and requesting the Court to declare that the Puck Defendants are not entitled to an accounting of their top-level domain business.

[via Domain State and tipster George Kirikos]

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5 Comments

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dhani jones – ???

September 2, 2009 @ 11:53 pm EDT

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dhani jones

September 3, 2009 @ 1:09 am EDT

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Farid

September 3, 2009 @ 4:56 am EDT

ICANN should understand its mistake with the new gTLD. It will bring ICANN to the crash. We have most popular .com, .net, .org and .info. Keep these extensions.

Sadic Maduck Farid

September 3, 2009 @ 8:12 pm EDT

anyway this looks like it is not a problem with new tlds but rather that they were so attractive that there was a dispute over how/who had more

@farid whatever keep those extensions and add more new tlds, like broken.english my good friend – you make us foreigners (and domainers) look bad in being so closed sighted

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