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eToys Drops Lawsuit Against eToy

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the woo-hoo dept.

The Courts 193

A lot of people have caught the word that eToys has dropped their lawsuit against eToy. This story has been brewing around here for a while. It's good to see the side of reason prevail in this situation. The solution that eToys is proposing is that both sides drop their respective claims against each other (eToys and eToy both have claims against each other) I've talked with Ken Ross, eToys VP of Communications. Click below for his take on it.

Essentially, eToys has proposed that both parties drop their respective claims against each other. This means that the injunction against against Etoy would be dropped.

The reason they're trying to do this is that they've heard from people, quite a bit over the last few weeks. Quite a number of people from the arts community had contacted them, and they are responding to this, says Ken Ross of eToys.

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Etoys (1)

quanix (96484) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434833)

If the world was a fair place, Etoy would sue Etoys for damages and win a couple million dollars. I hate when companies do this sorta crap.

coinky dink? (3)

zonker (1158) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434834)

I figured this would happen... right after Christmas... Coincidence? I think NOT!

/ k.d / earth trickle / Monkeys vs. Robots Films [] /

Sounds like they got nervous (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434835)

Etoys has nothing to lose by dropping the claim. Christmas season is over, the shopping is done. They have all thier sales. In addition they are risking losing a case to Etoy, who could then sue them for damages. In my view this made sense. I wish Etoy would continue thier lawsuit though, this whole thing was concocted for publicity and christmas sales. They should be punished.


Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434836)

They just said they won't 'press' the suit, whatever it means.

Is this not a SLAPP style lawsuit? (2)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434837)

I'm sure that eToy can sue these guys under California's Anti-SLAPP ordinance.

SLAPP == Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or a shut-you-up-with-big-money lawsuit.

Don't Drop the Counter Suit! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434838)

Well, I can't see any reason for etoy not to press a countersuit. This was clearly frivolous seasonal bullying, and now is the time for justice and recompense.

Glad to hear it! (1)

Sylvestre (45097) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434839)

Good to see eToys did the right thing. Now, should we all run over there and buy some toys to thank them? After all if you're going to boycott someone for doing something, you should reward them for not doing it.

This should have gone to court... (4)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434840)

...but not for the obvious reason.

If it had gone to court, and Etoy WON, it probably would have been a precident-setting decision. Now, of course, we will probably have to go through this AGAIN with the next bone-head that tries to sue over similar names.

What's this talk of wrinkled suits? (1)

Chagrin (128939) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434841)

Maybe they have some sort of Y2K compliance issue with their clothes irons.

What about NSI (2)

tweek (18111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434842)

Now I want to see how long it takes NSI to get the domain info straightened out. Knowing them will be back up sometime next july ;)

Just to black out hits to (1)

IAmATuringMachine! (62994) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434843)

It makes sense that they dropped the suit- they would not have won since etoy had the domain first and there was no "conflict of business."

They only wanted an injuntion and some evil PR karma to get NSI to take down the etoy domain so that potential visitors didn't go to etoy (perhaps on a random stab) and shop there.

Finally, something changes (1)

Optical_Delusion (69376) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434844)

Etoy declined comment, saying it had not yet been contacted by the toy seller

For some reason i just found that part funny.

Anyway, I am just glad that reason kicked in, apparantly some companies still read their 'comments' mail and act appropriately.

Who loves to see that backpeddlin 'Oh no, we didn't want to stiffle artistic expression.'

I just hope this isn't indicitave of the future... (1)

viking099 (70446) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434845)

If stuff like this happens every time a company's crunch time is around the corner, there are going to be a lot of irate little guys out there with their pet projects put on hold by corporations who don't want any confusion.

Re:Glad to hear it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434846)

This will lead to companies picking the most defenseless, community loved sites/people and bringing ridiculous lawsuits, and then dropping them a week later.

If you don't think this would happen if what you suggest becomes widespread, you need a lesson in large corporate business.

Kinda nice finally (1)

Yhcrana (88366) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434847)

Seems odd how the world today is embroiled in lawsuit after lawsuit. There is no real solution anymore on anything other than to sue other party involved and hope for the best.

:sigh: Oh well at least someone got the idea finally.

etoy back up? (2)

dvorsd (122811) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434848)

So if this is true, how long until etoy can put their sight back up? If at all. Just what does not "pressing" the law suit mean anyway? As they did not say that they were going to drop it altogether. I'll confess to be slightly confused.


word from the arts community... (1)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434849)

obviously word from the stunningly obvious community just wasn't enough...

Re:Sounds like they got nervous (2)

Optical_Delusion (69376) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434850)

I imagine Etoy will continue thier lawsuit. The only people that said they were both going to call them off was Etoys, Etoy said they hadn't heard anything. I bet this is just Etoys backing out and trying to coerce Etoy into it as well.

Grr too tired to fix the rambling thing above, sorry.

Re:coinky dink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434851)

(-1, redundant)

Re:coinky dink? (3)

KnightStalker (1929) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434852)

No kidding! This has nothing to do with the "side of reason." I bet Amazon is right behind them dropping their suit against B&N... the Christmas shopping season is mostly over, so the injunctions are no longer necessary.

This just proves... (2)

Cheesewhiz (61745) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434853)

This just proves, in my humble opinion, that this is mearly a ruse to exploit the average coder -- by hangin' on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society. We're living in a dictatorship. ..... A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working class of coders and average lowly geeks are exploited to serve the purpose of the upper class slime.

Just my personal opinion though ;) (Hehe, Commie alert!)

Artists turned the tide? (2)

UncleRoger (9456) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434854)

The reason they're trying to do this is that they've heard from people, quite a bit over the last few weeks. Quite a number of people from the arts community had contacted them, and they are responding to this, says Ken Ross of eToys.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I sent a couple of e-mails indicating that I was not buying from eToys because of this, as I'm sure plenty of other slashdot readers did.

Perhaps they aren't admitting the influence slashdot and other aware folks have? (If they did, perhaps more people would start voting with their pocketbook, so to speak, and big corps wouldn't be able to get away with quite so much.)

Re:Sounds like they got nervous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434855)

(-1, redundant troll)

...But they would have lost (3)

Uruk (4907) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434856)

I hate to be a cynical troll bastard, but the truth of the matter is that they probably would have lost horribly. I agree that it would be a very important precedent setter if they had won, but that knife cuts both ways.

What is the part of the pledge of allegiance that everybody learns but that is never actually *IN* the pledge of allegiance? "With Freedom, and Justice for all those who can afford it". Hate to say it, but whoever has more money generally wins due to better lawyers, and more expendable time/energy/money that gets put into winning it.


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434857)

(-1, poor attempt at humor)

I can understand... (2)

Ex-NT-User (1951) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434858)

eToys wanting to protect their trademark. (After all if they don't protect it they loose it) But there are much better ways of doing so. I mean if I was eToys the only thing I would ask is to have "etoy" put mabey a one liner "If your looking for toys click here" with a link to eToys. (And vice versa from eToys to etoy)

Does that seem fair?

Christmas is Over (1)

-eddy (20859) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434859)

Of course they have dropped the issue. Christmas is over.

They took a shot, lost big, and now are trying to `make nice` for the public because they didn't expect such an outcry.

Hopefully they have learned. You can't bully the small guy on the Internet. It will not be tolerated.


Fairnes (was: Etoys) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434860)

I rather like the idea of the world not being fair. It would be very depressing if I deserved all of the bad stuff that happens to me....

Re:What about NSI (2)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434861)

Even better (or worse)...NSI sold the domain to someone else in the meantime!

they already won (1)

NightHwk (111982) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434862)

Christmas has passed, and with it eToys' worries about the domain. Before xmas, when many people were shoping online eToys became concerned that people would end up at by accident, and didn't want this to hurt their sales, so they pulled this little stunt to
1. Remove what they deemed offensive from a similar domain
2. Get their name in the news

Xmas is over now, and they dont have anything to gain by dragging this out any further.

Re:Don't Drop the Counter Suit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434863)

(-1, redundant flamebait)

Bah. (0)

Paul_Taylor (38370) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434864)

I guess they expect this to get them some goodwill after they pull the suit. I say they can still go to hell.

Re:Glad to hear it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434865)

(-1, pathetic attempt at being reasonable)

Re:Just to black out hits to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434866)

I like limeaid!

Don't be naive. (3)

Parity (12797) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434867)

eToys shut down etoy to increase their margin through the holiday shopping season. The holiday shopping season is now over, and the boycott is more dangerous to them than the tiny percentage of customers they lose to mistyped urls.

Not to mention that the lawsuit hasn't yet been dropped, their just making compromising noises, aka 'spin doctoring.' I feel no compunction to reward someone for trying to pull a snow job, thanks anyway.

eToys will probably actually go into my list with Wal*mart and Starbucks of places I will never shop. Every market force -except- consumer awareness encourages corporations to be ruthless and to care about nothing but profit. Unless the senior management of eToys resigns en masse, I have to assume that that company has no ethical compunctions about being anything but a purely market driven force, and I'd be just as happy to see them go out of business. Maybe if more unethical pure-greed business went under, more people with integrity would feel that business wasn't something too dirty to be involved in, and then everyone (except scumsucking getrichquick at the expense of the suckers types) would win.


Possible "real" reason (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434868)

It could be they made the connection between the massive decline in their stock value and the bad press they have been getting since starting this whole mess.

Kudos to everyone who boycoted them, they got what they deserved and lost in the process.


And I suppose... (4)

Amphigory (2375) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434869)

And I suppose that its entirely coincidental that this happened after the Xmas (please don't associate Christ with that) shopping season?

If the lawsuit wasn't both valid and necessary, why did they pursue it in the first place???

corporate tactics (1)

downix (84795) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434870)

This was a perfect tactic for eToys, using a suit to guarantee customers. By eliminating a potential mis-understanding by eToy through this suit, they managed to keep customers focused on it's own website, thereby eliminating a possible "confusion" which could send their customers to their competition. Now that the key season, the "make it or break it" season for eToys I'd note, is over with, they are happy to drop the suit and no damage is done, completely innocent. No damage done, except to eToy. eToys has managed to make the VC's happy, and will likely shortly begin another round of financing. With the influx of cash, they won't care if they are sued. It's a win-win situation for them.

Such a sad commentary when a lawsuit is a marketing tactic

Re:Glad to hear it! (4)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434871)

I sincerely hope you are joking.

First, they haven't said "dropping" the lawsuite, they've said "not pressing it." There may be a difference, legally speaking. Since I'm obviously not a lawyer, I'll let someone more in the know comment. In the meantime a measure of skepticism is called for.

Second, even if they are actually dropping the lawsuite, that may very well have been been their strategy from the start: get taken off the internet during the busy xmas season, then drop a costly lawsuite they can't win anyway after the holiday is over. By next year they would (hopefully) have enough name recognition for it not to be as big an issue, they may have acquired the name, or chosen some other tactic to address the issue.

The other possibility is, of course, that they have wisely caved in to widespread outrage among both the artistic and technical communities and have found their legal tactics to have backfired in a business sense, costing them allot of money. That may or may not indirectly be related to their stock price falling, though of course those of us who boycotted them would like to believe it to be so.

Either way, the only reward they may have earned is an end to a boycott, not active support from those they harmed (and that group includes IMHO the entire internet community). However, until I see them actually make good (a public apology at the very least, more preferably paying's legal expenses), I will continue to withhold my money from their pockets.

Re:coinky dink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434872)

(-1, unoriginal retard who thinks he's a troll)

It's over until next xmas(tm) (1)

Octos (68453) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434873)

Maybe I'm paranoid, but it seems to convinient to drop the suit after the xmas(tm) buying frenzy is over. I hope Etoy retaliates and makes an example of etoys so that this won't happen again. If they don't, I wonder if the suit will be brought back up next xmas(tm).

Please.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434874)

..if your going to quote Monty Python give credit. just because you change to words doesn't make it an Original thought.

Please.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434875)

..if your going to quote Monty Python give credit. just because you change two words, doesn't make it an Original thought.

Welcome to the Good Olde Days of the wild west (5)

Mr. Protocol (73424) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434876)

This is a skirmish in a wider war, a war that's going to go on for a long, long time.

We live by the rule of law. Man, there are times when it hurts to say that. The Internet wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for the secret (and sometimes not-so-secret) admiration of many of its builders for the outlaw image. Except for Peter Neumann, of course. However, I live in a neighborhood where I'm glad the police saturate the streets, having had many personal belongings appropriated by other residents of the neighborhood in my absence, over the years.

But in any frontier, society arrives first and the law plays catch-up. These are the Good Old Days of the Internet, folks, and you should enjoy them while you can. Trademark law, copyright law, trade secret protection, contract law, all are having real, and in some cases severe, problems adapting to the new territory.

Eventually, all of this will get fixed. But it's going to get fixed in the light of what we do now, during the period of time when things don't work so good. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and the Internet violates so many of the assumptions under which the existing legal framework was constructed that sometimes it's hard to hear the packets whiz by for all the squeaking.

So when something like this comes up, I think it's a good idea to think about the situation not in terms of "big ugly bad corporation against innocent little guy", but in terms of: "Suppose I owned Suppose I owned Suppose I were a customer of one? Of the other?"

This might help provide a perspective on the real issues. Remember, ownership doesn't depend on how nasty the owner is. Our legal system is founded on the theory that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, even if you're a vegetarian.

Once you've gained that perspective...well, then it's time to beat up on the big ugly bad guy. Hopefully, with better weapons in your intellectual arsenal.

Re:coinky dink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434877)

(-1, redundant karma whoring)

It's about time, but... (3)

DaPhreaker (33196) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434878)

I applaud etoys decision to drop the suit, and the people of the Internet community that pushed them in that direction, but there is a more significant issue at stake. How did they ever get the injunction in the first place? The mere fact they won a temporary injunction is frightening to me. Based on the fact that they never owned the domain, it was not even the same name, and last but far from least etoy was around years before etoys, how could any rational person grant an injunction, it boggles the mind. At this point it looks good for the Internet community you know, all is well that ends well and that type of stuff. But what is going to be the out come when this happens again? And what will happen when the site in question is not an internationally acclaimed web site? Will that web site receive the same support as etoy received? The fact that etoys is pulling the suit is a step in the right direction, but there needs to be a clearly defined procedure in place that will not allow this to happen again. And it should be defined by the people/institutions who make the Internet thrive and not by those who thrive off the Internet. Maybe etoy should follow through with their suit and put the screws to etoys. If they win then it would be a major coup for the internet community, something that would make Mr. A. Huge Korporation think twice about hassling little Johnny web site owner. Removing the injunction is wonderful, but that only remedies a symptom, the cause is what needs to be fixed.

Re:I can understand... (1)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434879)

What trademark ? Their trademark had been tossed out of court. They took advantage of a judge not aware of all the subtlties of the issue. Etoy's trademark is still in progress. If ANYONE had a legal trademark issue it would be etoy. They had been operating for 2 years longer than etoys (take a look at the whois/internic records for domain registration).

Re:This should have gone to court... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434880)

(-1, moderator stroker)

these things always reming me of the time (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434881)

when B.J. Clinton asked Paula Jones to drop her suit. (Way off topic!)

Is anybody else offeneded (1)

handorf (29768) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434882)

at the blatant maniuplation of the legal system by Etoys? They get through the lucrative Christmas season then go "Oops, this is stupid. Sorry!".

10 on 1 says somebody does something similar. Oops, lucrative time! Use the courts to shut down anyone who might be mistaken for us!

Pisses me off.

Flame works for us - live with it! (5)

konstant (63560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434883)

So here we have another victory for flame, one of seemingly dozens that I've seen since I began trawling Slashdot. CmdrTaco posts an "outrage" story, thousands of screaming techno monkeys are released from their cages, and the "evildoer" is inundated with everything that the more sanctimonious Slashdotters hate: brainless insults, threats, aimless fury, severance of business relations, and (presumably) a little rational argument thrown in for seasoning.

And the result? WE WIN!

Let me spell that out again for you sourpusses who can't abide being represented by puerile mudslingers.


Now I'm sure some of the aforementioned are already warming up their typing fingers to explain how we don't really win, that this sort of victory is phyrric, that we can only reduce our influence and tarnish our credibility by proceeding in this way, and that eventually we will be ignored.

I disagree. Oh, how much I disagree! I say, it's time we stop shunning natural righteous anger. How long will we claim that human emotion is a bastard of which we should be ashamed? Forget it, no, if the actions of another anger me, then I won't suppress that anger in pursuit of the ideal Spock-like discourse that the Slashdot ethics police endorse.

Rational argument is fundamental, I disagree. But not all atrocities or moral infractions have their roots in reason. Some are emotional, or even legitimately evil. Those cannot be address by reason; emotion must be an allowable tool in our arsenal.

My two cents.

Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!

Re:coinky dink? (2)

EricWright (16803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434884)

I bet Amazon is right behind them dropping their suit against B&N.

I doubt it. The eToys vs. Etoy lawsuit was (IMO) an on-line seller upset that the stupid portion of their clientele would be confused when they stupidly typed rather than They pressed the matter based on a pre-existing TM (recently invalidated... WOO HOO!) that they bought from another company, and tried to shut down a small (foreign) website that had nothing to do with their business. In other words, the suit was based on the fact that the two had similar names. That's all.

The Amazon vs. BN suit deals with two similar retailers (, AFAIK, is a separate business from the brick and mortar chain Barnes & Noble) using nearly identical technologies. Amazon got a stupid patent for a blatently obvious procedure, and they want to establish an "on-line monopoly" to quash competetion (sound familiar?).


Hasn't their goal been achieved? (4)

|DaBuzz| (33869) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434885)

I mean, if you think about the timing of the law suit, main goal was to prevent people from going to when they meant to go to The best way to fix this type of confusion beyond hijacking the domain and redirecting it is to bring it down all together.


Customer remembers something about the "etoy" toystore on the web from a TV commercial so they punch up into their browser ... if hadn't brought down, that user may have been marveled by the content of and forgotten that they wanted to go to in the first place, only later to go to If fails to resolve for the customer, there is more of a chance that they'll try "" and get to the toy site. main goal here was to prevent the loss of even a SINGLE possible customer due to the distraction that is ... and they did just that.

Now they want to come off as the Good Guys(TM) for not pushing the suit while all along, their plan worked 100% as expected.

Like there was any confusion (2)

richj (85270) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434887)

From the article:
"People are telling us they want the art of
etoy and the e-commerce of eToys to
co-exist," said eToys spokesman
Jonathan Cutler. "We've agreed. We're
not pressing the lawsuit."

Like there was any confusion in what people wanted. "Oh, Etoys decided to try and run them off of the Net because that's what we wanted".


"Our intent was never to silence free
artistic expression," he said.

No, it was just corporate greed, which happened to shut down an artistic Website. They're obviously only "doing the right thing" due to the negative reaction they got, and not because they've "figured it out".

Personally, I'll never buy from them because of the way they acted, they proved they're not concerned with treating their "neighbors" fairly on the 'net.

Re:...But they would have lost (2)

lyonsj (51249) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434888)

I was thinking about that this morning when I read this article [] .

Up until today, I was pretty convinced that etoy would win, hands down - I mean, come on, they registered their domain TWO YEARS before came on the scene. But one sentence in that article from American Reporter struck me for some reason - they said the judges would rightly want to be conservative. And for some reason, I read conservative to mean "taking the side of the big American corporation".

If etoy would have lost (they still could, since the Wired article doesn't say it's officially dropped), well... let's just say I'd have a few bones to pick with our judicial system. I do, anyway (not relevant to this discussion), but wouldn't a victory for eToys just have made clear, once and for all, the good old American money-is-all mentality? It seems clear to me that if this case were pursued, etoy SHOULD win, and eToys should be told they did not plan well. If I named my kid the same name as my sister, whose kid was born 2 years earlier, and then went around bitching because people got confused, it would be my own damn fault. eToys could and SHOULD have researched the name first.

I still don't think I'll be shopping at eToys, at least not until the suit is really, truly dropped. After that, well... on one hand, they were stupid to pursue this in the first place. On the other, they listened to what people were saying and responded in an appropriate manner. What to do?

Excuse my French. (2)

jelwell (2152) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434889)

But this is so much bullshit on the part of If you remember correctly the initial injunction was set so that would not have a hearing date until the 27th of Christmas - barring from Christmas shoppers (etoys big season). The only reason etoys is "dropping" the suit, is because they've already won. Christmas buying season is over and etoys successfully stymied etoy from recieving hits from users who mistyped the etoys website.

Now is not the time for a pathetic sigh of relief. Now is the time to fight back against etoys.
I have never in my life seen so clearly the damages one large company can do to good ole fashion people despite "Social Stability" created through government and law.

Etoys needs to pay. Etoy should not relent. I think RtMark would agree with me when I say that Etoy crossed the line of law on this one.
Joseph Elwell.

Holy cow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434890)

"Religion begat prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother -- Cotton Mather"

Was this dude on PCP, or what?!??

Re:Finally, something changes (1)

beagle (99378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434891)

Anyway, I am just glad that reason kicked in

Don't you mean season? After all, since it's no longer the Christmas season, eToys doesn't care about the lawsuit anymore!

Should have... (4)

Me_n_U (43721) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434892)

They SHOULD HAVE just contacted eToy and asked them to put a link on their site for mistakes. I've seen that a few times. That would make to much sense though I guess...

Confused P.R. Department? (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434893)

After reading your comment I looked back at my e-mail to eToys.

At no point do I come out and say "I'm a geek and I'm outraged!"
Rather my e-mail seems to tell them that because of their actions against etoy I was going to take my buisness, and encourage others to take their, elsewhere.

Maybe when they received all the e-mail from /.'ers they concluded:

Geee... these must be people in the arts! no one else should care what happens to a piddling 'arts' site.

And lumped all the e-mail they received into one pile called 'Artists are angry and hurting our profit margin' :)

Re:Welcome to the Good Olde Days of the wild west (2)

Demona (7994) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434895)

The "rule of Law, and not of men" is an ideal in the real world as well as on the net, but it has repeatedly proven its worth in both environments. (Anarchy means no ruler, not "no rules" -- the net's functionality as an anarchy is declining somewhat with the influx'd tragedy of the commons, but the overall positive effects will eventually outweight this.) Most of what people think of as the "outlaw internet" is actually a very time-tested, freely evolved system of voluntary interaction, just as the so-called "wild west" was actually far more peaceful and law-abiding than many [not necessarily large-scale] present-day environments. And a lot of peoples' negative impressions of the law come from misapplications and abuses of the rule of law, and the perversion of law over time from being a system of justice to the elevation of a privileged class -- lawyers, by and large responsible for most of the current outrages. Hell, under the old common law, landowners could sue railroads for polluting their land via the trespass doctrines, as well as visible damages -- but a good deal of "reform" has made it near-impossible for the average person to obtain any substantive relief without crippling hardship in the form of time and expense. Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever they can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser -- in fees, expenses and wasted time. (Abraham Lincoln) The net -- and the world -- work best when we can work out our problems without resorting to guns, whether in the form of the law or in reality. I hope etoy takes the offer of simply both sides dropping (although I'd want it to be with prejudice to ensure that a repeat of the fiasco wouldn't take place at some point), as that's the traditional method on the net: You have your name, we have ours, we don't claim to be each other, and we figure the average person is smart enough to figure we aren't each other.

Re:This should have gone to court... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434896)

Not really... because this suit ended in state court, not federal court. Any precedential weight of this suit, had it reached a judgement, would have only affected California.

Re:Kinda nice finally (3)

isaac (2852) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434897)

Seems odd how the world today is embroiled in lawsuit after lawsuit. There is no real solution anymore on anything other than to sue other party involved and hope for the best."

Of course. When the Legislative and Executive branches are coopted, the sole remaining (legal) remedy is petitioning the Judiciary for redress of grievances. These days, that's all that stands between this country and a "capitalist paradise" like Singapore.

This is why I mistrust tort-reform measures. Who's interests are represented by Congress? Who's job is it to pass legislation? Worried yet?


Re:This should have gone to court... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434898)

Not really... because this suit ended in state court, not federal court. Any precedential weight of this suit, had it reached a judgment, would have only affected California.

Re:Artists turned the tide? (1)

3D0G (130531) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434899)

Some of us corporate-IT types even sent emails to Etoys explaining why we had blocked access to their domain from our corporate networks. (I know, I know, the end doesn't justify the means...)

However, I still don't understand why Etoys would pull this stunt right before Christmas and then drop it right after. Surely they anticipated that this kind of bullying would irritate the wired masses (the very types who do a lot of shopping online)? Did they count on nobody noticing? Did they think that enough 'average' people would shop online this year to counteract the effect that it would have on us? Or did they just not think?

Sorry, I don't buy the explanation that they *wanted* the publicity that this fiasco generated. I think it's more likely that some legal types at Etoys didn't think the whole thing through before acting.

Re:And I suppose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434900)

Off topic, but... Xmas still associates that shopping season with Christ. X is often used as a symbol for Christ, due to the first letter of his name in Greek.

MAL = Mutually Assured Litigation ? (2)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434901)

I guess some of us learned more from the Cold War than did others.

Re:Don't Drop the Counter Suit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434902)

(-3, redundant flamebait troll)

Etoy should continue lawsuit (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434903)

I think without question Etoy should continue their lawsuit agains Etoys. Etoys was clearly out of line and went so far as to even shut down their website. How can we have a government and judicial system that is this stupid about technology and the world in general. I think Etoy should definately continue with their lawsuit and if they agree to continue persuing the suit I would gladly donate to their cause. I think that Etoys deserves to be punished severely for this crap. I think the the only good part about this is that it did get Etoy a lot of publicity, and I think if they tried they could turn that publicity and attention that they have drawn for this case and get enough donations to continue with their lawsuit. Etoys clearly did this for a lot of publicity, so why can't Etoy turn it around on them? I'm hung over and tired, so if you want me to work here you better serve good coffee, and a lot of it.

they've already won (1)

Spax (84516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434904)

This is precisely right.

Everything etoys wanted from this suit has been accomplished except the handing over of the domain name to etoys.

Their holiday season is over; the more people that go to to return some worthless eToys garbage, the happier the crass merchandise site is.

Re:Try a friendly lawsuit. (2)

Gog_Magog (14833) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434905)

You can legally sue eachother and ask for no damages. Two companies can sue each other in a friendly fashion so as to get a legal ruling on something. Sometimes companies do this to get an official ruling on certain business practices, mergers, etc. It can also be used to test the legality of a contract.

I missed something, who said it was over? (1)

bons (119581) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434906)

All I see is that ETOYS has offered to drop it's suit if ETOY drops theirs.
I have seen nothing that says ETOY has any intention of dropping their suit.
Now if I were ETOYS, would I drop my suits?

I dunno. Maybe just my pants.

Sue eToys, no ... Sue Network Solutions, yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434907)

As far as I see, Network Solutions is the real wrongdoer here. Sure, eToys Inc. was being aggressive getting an injunction against the etoy website, but it was Network Solutions who sent the etoy domain into limbo under pressure from eToys Inc.

I can see Network Solutions shutting domains down when explicitly order to do so by a court, but shutting down domains for fun, profit, or special favor is precisely the reason why we all want the Network Solutions monopoly broken.

Re:This should have gone to court... (2)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434908)

This is what the Scopes trial was about (when a teacher was charged with breaking the law by teaching evolution in Tenassee(?) in about 1930.) The *intention* was to get a quick conviction so the constitutionality of the law could be challenged. It was a dismal failure - the circus the trial turned into was irrelevant to the goal, and the conviction was overturned on a technicality so that it could not be appealled on constitutional grounds as planned. The law remained on the books into the 1960s.

Re:Artists turned the tide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434909)

It seems to me, that no matter WHY they changed their stance, saying that its because of peoples complaints is the best way to save face. If they came out and said "Its not Christmas anymore", people would still be angry and boycott. At least this way they may get some business from people thinking "At least they listen to us"

not hardly! (1)

RoLlEr_CoAsTeR (39353) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434910)

Now, should we all run over there and buy some toys to thank them?

No, as I believe you're implying, we should not actually go over there and buy a bunch of stuff to reward them for dropping suit. They deserve no reward. It was idiotic beyond compare, IMHO, that they brought up the suit to begin with. Therefore, they need no reward for actually behaving in an aware state.

I think that eToy should press for damages... eToys is a big corporation, a user and as it seems in this case, a loser, and they should be taught, along with all other corporations, that it's not right to throw their weight around, for any reason, including boosting holiday sales. Geez! The love of money in this world.. *sigh*

Then again, I'm going to have to guess that there is/are some major flaw(s) in my argument, for which I apologize. Thank you.

"Re:Is anybody else offeneded" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434911)


Re:Sounds like they got nervous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434912)

actually I posted at the same time as the other 2 people. Not redundant, simultaneous.

Re:Hasn't their goal been achieved? (2)

kristau (121927) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434913)

Of course it has.

Their analysts probably pointed out that last year X% of their revenue was lost to This lead to the formulation of a strategy to bring down over this year's Christmas season. Wheels turn, cogs rotate, and the lawyers get called.

The laywers, of course, pointed out immediately that didn't have a leg to stand on in court, but proffered the same results without a court visit: injunction. Now that the shopping season is through, they can backpedal to avoid setting a precedence on this issue - a precedence that most likely would prevent them from pulling the same trick next year!

My bet is that will still work on to try and get them to change, and if they don't do it by next Christmas shopping season, we will be seeing more injuctions. If had the backing, the should try to get this into the courts and get the precedence set. However, I doubt they do, so we may see this tactic tried by others until it "slips unintentionally" into the courts.


Re:Glad to hear it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434914)

Bullsh*t. They've lost my business forever (as has If we let them get away with this sort of crap, this type of lawsuit will become commonplace.

Re:Confused P.R. Department? (1)

tagunter (105540) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434915)

After reading your comment I looked back at my e-mail to eToys.
At no point do I come out and say "I'm a geek and I'm outraged!"

I've just looked back and mine and see the same problem. And also in my email to (after I discovered they're "a wholly owned subsidiary of eToys, Inc.").

When a website gets /.ed, it is (or should be) obvious to the the admins, but it looks like a /. via email will need to explicitly state that the flood of mail is coming from geeks.

Re:I can understand... (1)

DraKKon (7117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434916)

I mean if I was eToys the only thing I would ask is to have "etoy" put mabey a one liner "If your looking for toys click here" with a link to eToys.

eToys DID ask for a link to eToys's site.. etoy basically gave them the finger.

Re:coinky dink? (1)

KnightStalker (1929) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434917)

You do have a point there. But I would guess that Amazon's real motivation was not protecting their IP, but redirecting those Christmas sales from B&N to them. Now that they've accomplished that, it might be in their best interest (bottom-line wise) to drop the suit and not risk losing it. But maybe I'm just too cynical. ;-)

Re:Welcome to the Good Olde Days of the wild west (1)

Slak (40625) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434918)

While you paint a wide swathe with your comments, I'd like to take a closer look at the issue at stake here. The etoy/etoys claim/counter-claim of trademark-bearing web-sites.

Actually, the better example is the one over at where Colgate (I believe) wanted NSI to shut down as it (Colgate) owns the Ajax Trademark. The crux of the matter, is that Trademarks are *not* broadly based. Colgate may hold the Trademark on Ajax for drain cleaners (or whatever their product claims to do), but that can not stop me (or anyone else) from getting a rocket fuel Trademarked as "Ajax".

Which leads me to the crux of the current problem. The Internet is a HUGE namespace collision. Take Ajax. Suppose Boeing (or some other large, old) company holds a valid (worldwide) trademark on Ajax in rocket fuel (sidebar: Company names and product categories are being used as examples). Who has "ownership" over the domain now? According to NSI, if Colgate registered the domain first, Boeing could come in and file for injunction, as it is a valid trademark owner of the name in question. If "ownership" is then awarded to Boeing for the domain, then, Colgate becomes free to pursue the same action - and we're in for a nasty "while true;"-loop.

Indeed, the Internet violates trademark assumptions. Why should McDonalds Corporation be allowed to reverse-hijack away from a Family McDonalds-owned bar? Because the Corporation has better lawyers/more money/more "brand" recognition? Should the family be able to keep the domain because it had it first? What if the Family McDonald set up some kind of e-commerce site and obtained Trademark on "McDonalds" within the e-commerce sphere?

Frankly, I abhore the idea that a Trademark in one domain (drain cleaner) automagically applies to another (domain-names). I do not believe that is the intent behind Trademark. I'm sure we all remember Apple's "handling" of the situation. What if turned out to be some parody site by Intel? What if the site bordered on "bad-taste" (avoiding the issue of defining "bad-taste")? What if was a porn-site with 3 months prior history? With 2 years prior history? What if the "" string were a Trademark itself?

As a (US) Civil War general once said, "The key to victory is to get there first-est, with the most-est". I'm all for cyber-squatting. Before the flame-throwers come out, I'll qualify that by saying that cyber-squatters should not blackmail or threaten their targets.


Re:...But they would have lost (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434919)

I don't think so. I think that's why eToys dropped their lawsuit. I'm sure that they would have won in the first case, but there is no way in hell an appeals court would have upheld it. Combine that with the fact that etoy was getting a lot of donated money for their lawyers, and they would have had the money to take it to appeals court.

Smaller courts in the west know where their bread is buttered unfortunately, so they are more likely to rule infavor of the local company that is bringing in jobs and capital. Appeals courts are removed, and that is why they're more impartial.

Re:Sounds like they got nervous (5)

WilliamX (22300) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434920)

I certainly hope etoy does continue their suit against eToys. If they can afford to, it would serve to put corporate America on notice that there are consequences to their legal bullying tactics, and perhaps make them stop and think before acting.

The intellectual property groups, like the RIAA, MPAA, attorneys for companies like AT&T, are working right now to stop new Top Level Domains, like .web, .biz, .box, etc, because they want rules in place that let them suspend someone's domain name rights without having to go meet the legal standards that a court filing would force them to. I am on the Workgroup C group of the Domain Name Supporting Organization [] of ICANN, and this workgroup is charged with coming up with a proposal or proposals for ICANN to consider in creating new Top Level Domains. The Intellectual Properties advocates have been fighting VERY hard to block any results, despite the fact that the two largest and most contentious camps in this process have been able to find common ground to move forward with 6-10 new top level domains.

Corporate America needs to be taught a lesson that they can't assert rights they don't have, or try and abuse the rights they have, to trample the rights of others. A win by etoy over eToys would go a long way to putting them on notice.

William X. Walsh

Re:Don't Drop the Counter Suit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434921)

(-1 unoriginal pseudotroll)

Ripping off Babylon 5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434922)

Babylon 5 ripoff! You're just like those DS9 writers!

eToys owns TOYS.COM (2)

Hydrophobe (63847) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434923)

eToys has owned the domain all along... why not rename themselves?

Alternatively, they might eventually want to expand beyond toys into other goods, and rebrand themselves more with a more generic name.

Stupid, stupid, stupid... (1)

TheShadow (76709) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434924)

I think it is totally ridiculous that people are fighting over these two stupid and uncreative domain names in the first place. Frankly, I'm tired of all the e* and i* buzzwords, company names, and trademarks. C'mon people, be a little more creative than that.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434925)

(+1, insightful)

Re:And I suppose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434926)

(-1, redundant moderator stroking)

Re:What about NSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434927)

(+1 insightful)

What about other domains? (3)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434928) didn't have a legit suit against because not only was there first, they have nothing to do with one another. That's not always the case.

For instance. redirects to The only reason to have that domain is because it's based on a user making a typo to Would microsoft have a legit suit against the owner of because it's using the Microsoft name to get hits, and users?

And what's worse, is a website like is a well known website where users(mostly under 18) get game information. is a porn site. Would IGN(of which is affiliated) have a legit lawsuit against the owner of becuase it's trying to lure it's mostly under 18 userbase to a porn site?

The two above examples are, what I think, legit reasons to sue a webiste based on a domainname. Both are shameless attempts to get hits from users typing in the wrong url. I could go on forever with examples, being anohter one.

Should there be a law, or a line in the NSI contract saying that it would be illegal to have a name based on a typo, or a misleading name? I think it wouldn't be that bad of an idea. Sites like would still be legal, even if registered after because they aren't selling toys and trying to milk of the name. Registering misleading names like would be illegal, which I think it should be illegal to do so.

Buy Etoys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434929)

What are Etoys assets ?

How low would the stock price have to go before we could buy it and destroy it ?

How low before we could be sure that the founder and executives all lost money ?

Re:Hasn't their goal been achieved? (1)

tpck (66866) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434930) main goal here was to prevent the loss of even a SINGLE possible customer due to the distraction that is ... and they did just that.

And how many people now refuse to shop at because of the lawsuit agaisnt Doesn't that count as a loss of business as well?

If the world was a fair place... (0)

MintSlice (34717) | more than 14 years ago | (#1434931)

none of this would have happened!

etoys feedback, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1434932) upage=1&pagename=t10 Ask them if they are still hiring suit pressers or other tailors
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