Subject: FC: Judge denies Manhattan Bagel a restraining order against
   Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 16:24:57 -0400
  From: Declan McCullagh 

----- Forwarded message from Duncan Frissell  -----

From: Duncan Frissell 
Subject: No New World Coffee Disparagement Site TRO
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 14:24:31 -0400

Last Friday in Union County (NJ) Superior Court in Elizabeth, the
operator of won a solo victory against three
sets of lawyers when he convinced the judge not to issue a TRO against
corporate disparagement site.

New World Coffee a NJ-based coffee and bagel franchise company was
represented by PIPER MARBURY RUDNICK & WOLFE LLP (the Washington DC firm
that represented AOL in its anti-spam litigation), RABINOWITZ, TRENK,
LUBETKIN & TULLY (a NJ firm), as well as New World Coffee's General

The company made a series of claims in seeking a TRO including breach of
franchise agreement by franchisees who are supposedly  saying unkind
things about it.  It is also claiming that the domain names and are likely to confuse
innocent surfers looking for coffee (dilution).  There was also and
Anti-Cybersquatting Act claim.

The judge didn't seem too concerned about the contract claims but was
initially inclined to block the defendant's use of domain names for
dilution and cybersquatting. But once the defendant presented a whois
list of the hundreds of domain names containing the words "new world"
(New World Coffee does not control, .org, or .net) she
dismissed the cybersquatting argument.  Dilution was thrown out after
the defendant argued that all of the cited cases involved domain names
that were initially confusing versions of trademarks
(,, etc.)  The judge agreed that
even the most casual viewer would not confuse
with the trademark holder's site.

The underlying case is still active and plaintiffs are seeking early
discovery to see if they can uncover the defendant's sources.  He is
defending using the NJ shield law for journalists.

Any New Jersey lawyers interested in the case?