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LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD.
TWO PRUDENTIAL PLAZA SUITE 4900
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60601-6780
TELECOPY: (312) 616-5700
700 THIRTEENTH STREET, N.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20005-3960
TELECOPY: (202) 737-6776
815 NORTH CHURCH STREET
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS 61103-6979
TELECOPY: (815) 963-7664
Re: American Express Company Objection to Irational Gallery Ltd.
Duplication of American Express Web Pages; Our Ref. 89222
Dear Mr. Bunting: We represent American Express Company in matters involving copyright and trademark infringement and unfair competition. It has recently been brought to our attention that you have reproduced the web site of American Express Company on your Internet web site at "HTTP://WWW.IRATIONAL.ORG/AMERICAN_EXPRESS".
As your surely know, the AMERICAN EXPRESS trademark is known throughout the world as being associated with American Express Company. American Express has been in business, using its famous trademarks, since 1859. During this time, American Express has offered a wide range of financial and financially related services throughout the United States and the world under its AMERICAN EXPRESS trademark.
The American Express web site is protected against copying by U.S. and international Copyright law. American Express owns twelve registrations for its AMERICAN EXPRESS trademark in the U.K. covering a wide range of travel and financially related goods and services. The first of these registrations issued in 1975. Further, American Express owns several incontestable U.S. Federal Trademark Registrations for the mark "AMERICAN EXPRESS", covering a wide range of credit card, banking and travel related services. These registrations include Reg. No. 1,024,840 for the service mark "AMERICAN EXPRESS", a copy of which is attached for information.
American Express has extensively marketed and promoted its services under its famous AMERICAN EXPRESS trademarks. As a result, our client's AMERICAN EXPRESS trademark is often described as one of the most famous names and brands in the world. Thus, the AMERICAN EXPRESS trademark represents a very valuable asset to American Express and is one they will take all reasonable steps to protect.
Your company's unauthorized use of the American Express name is a clear attempt to confuse Internet users seeking information about American Express Company on the Internet. As such, your company's activities infringes American Express' U.K. trademarks. These acts also constitute a violation of our client's federally protected rights under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. $ 1114 and 15 U.S.C.$ 1125. In addition, such unauthorized activity violates state and federal Dilution Statutes and may also constitute passing off and unfair competition under U.S. law. Since we have notified you of American Express Company's federally protected rights in this matter, continued replication of American Express's web site is certainly willful, and you may be liable for treble damages and attorney's fess under 15 U.S.C. $ 1117.
Further, your company's activity constitutes copyright infringement in violation of U.S. and international copyright law. Indeed, your reproduction of the American Express home page includes a duplication, in its entirety, if American Express's copyright notice for its web site. As such, your copying of the home page and site is a willful and knowing violation of American Express's rights under U.S. and international copyright law.
Accordingly, we demand that you immediately remove the American Express name from the IRATIONAL.ORG site as well as the replication of the American Express web site. In addition, please be advised that we are sending a copy of this letter to Stephen Hebditch at Webdevelopment Ltd., as well as to your server, Netnames International.
Our client is amenable to resolving this matter in an amicable fashion. However, if this replication of the American Express web site is not removed within five days from the date of this letter, we will have no choice but to recommend that our client seek prompt, effective and complete judicial relief.
Very truly yours,
LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD.