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Brett Batters Vexatious Balls, Video Not On YouTube

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A trademark infringement court case involving court-labeled "vexatious litigant" Leo Stoller against baseball great George Brett took a humorous twist when the judge linked to a copyright infringing video on YouTube in his written opinion.

Stoller likes to sue people for trademark infringement whether or not he has a good reason. He calls himself "an intellectual property entrepreneur," but the court system has other, not so flattering, names for him.

His most famous case involves Google, where he claimed the right to the company’s name since its entrance into the dictionary as a verb, and was using the trademark for plastic exercise balls he most likely won’t be able to produce as evidence.

That may not make sense to you and it most likely won’t make sense to the courts either, but that’s par for the course considering Stoller is barred from litigating in northern Illinois.

On Monday, a judge had some colorful words for Stoller after finding in favor of Brett Brothers Sports International, Inc. and their right to the trademark STEALTH for use on baseball products.

"Were there a Hall of Fame for hyperactive trademark litigators" the US Court of Appeals said, "Stoller would be in it."

In this case, writes Judge David H. Coar, Stoller "filed an infringement lawsuit without evidence of any sales of baseballs or baseball bats to support its claim to rights in the ‘Stealth’ mark for such products. [His company] ignored requests to produce documents to support its claim, forcing the defendants’ lawyers to go to court to compel action.

"Stoller offered confused, misleading deposition testimony, with unfulfilled promises of cooperation. And the documents he eventually produced made a mockery of the entire proceeding. We have no trouble in upholding the award of fees and costs." 

Ouch.

Another judge, apparently a baseball fan, included in his opinion a link to the infamous "pine tar" incident:

The whole colorful episode is preserved, in all its glory, on YouTube, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Cu1WXylkto

Not anymore though, notes Eric Goldman at Technology and Marketing Law Blog. That 7 ½ minute video has been stricken from the YouTube record upon request from Major League Baseball, and with any luck, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals won’t be nailed for contributory infringement.

With some more luck, Google will nail Stoller under federal racketeering charges.

Brett Batters Vexatious Balls, Video Not On YouTube
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  • http://rentmark.blogspot.com Leo Stoller

    When Mr. Edward R. Murrow would report the news about a person he would “never” editorlize after reporting the “news” that “With some more luck, Google will nail Stoller under Federal Racketering Charges”. Edward R. Murrow, a journalist who dared to uphold freedom of thought in a time of McCarthyism. Jason Lee Miller has brough us back to “McCarthyism” in his comments today, for wishing to condem a party (Stoller) under “Federal Racketerring charges” without due process and without even a trial. Mr. Jason Lee Miller and his elk is a “greater” threat to our democratic way of life than Stoller could ever be! However, Mr. Miller is young enough to change…Let’s hope

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