Google filed a lawsuit last week against Central Mfg., a company owned by Leo Stoller, a Chicago-based
attorney “trademark expert” who has claimed rights for the word “Google,” Google Watch has learned.
Google’s lawsuit, which comes after several years of legal wrangling with Stoller, after Stoller declared bankruptcy, and after Google was granted relief by the courts to pursue litigation, alleges that Stoller and his businesses are falsely claiming trademark rights for the purpose of harassing and attempting to extort money.
“Unfortunately, Google’s widely-publicized success has attracted the attention of Defedants,” Google’s 222-page lawsuit reads. “In order to effectuate their fraud, Defendants have prepared and circulated, and continue to circulate, bogus letterhead and other corporate documents supposedly evidencing an entity they variously call ‘Google Brand Trademark Licensing,’ ‘Google Licensning [sic]’ and ‘Google Brand Products and Services,’ even though by all indications no such entity exists.’
Download the lawsuit: Part 1 (counts) and Part 2 (exhibits)
In a blog post last week that concerns the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Stoller predicted Google would sue him (Stoller’s emphasis):
“The predicate acts that Google Inc., is relying on in their frivolous Rico action are several settlement letters which Stoller send to Google’s attorney Michael Zeller under Federal Rules of Evidence 408 and are not discoverable. Stoller looks forward to defending this frivolous action being brought by Google Inc., under the direction of the famous Rico man himself, Michael “Rico” Zeller. When Mr. Zeller was a young man it is reported that his nick name was RICO Zeller. It is reported that some of Mr. Zeller’s boy hood friends still call him “Rico”. Mr. Zeller said that he would like to visit Porto RICO.“
Leo Stoller’s reputation as a persistent litigant has been covered by several publications in the mainstream press. A 2005 article in the New York Times on Stoller, titled “He Says He Owns the Word ‘Stealth’ (Actually, He Claims ‘Chutzpah,’ Too)” reads, in part:
“Over the last few years, Leo Stoller has written dozens of letters to companies and organizations and individuals stating that he owns the trademark to “stealth.” He has threatened to sue people who have used the word without his permission. In some cases, he has offered to drop objections in exchange for thousands of dollars. And in a few of those instances, people or companies have paid up.“
I will upload the HUGE lawsuit file as soon as Acrobat stops crashing my Mac Mini.