Freedom's Watch sued for trademark infringement
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|This article is part of SourceWatch coverage of Freedom's Watch|
On September 17, 2007, former Florida Republican senatorial candidate Larry Klayman, who founded Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, "filed suit against Freedom's Watch in federal court in Miami to enjoin the theft of his 'Freedom Watch' trademark and its misuse to promote the ill conceived and poorly implemented Iraq War on behalf of the Bush-Cheney administration. The suit also seeks millions of dollars in damages against former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Freedom's Watch President Brad Blakeman, and mega Bush-Cheney money men, who are funding ads promoting the Iraq War." The Freedom Watch press release states:
- "The name 'Freedom Watch' was first announced by NBC Television in its hit political drama series West Wing when it created a semi-fictitious character after Larry Klayman, then Chairman of Judicial Watch, the public interest watchdog he founded to investigate and prosecute government corruption. Subsequently, and as the federal court complaint alleges, Klayman used the trade name 'Freedom Watch' in commerce as early as November 24, 2004, thus establishing a trademark at that time. Klayman continuously used the mark thereafter, and later registered it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Last summer, the real Freedom Watch, a public interest group founded by Klayman several years before defendants created their 'Freedom's Watch,' ran an ad in The Washington Times Weekly which was published and distributed to about 120,000 subscribers nationwide. Klayman's distinctive mark 'Freedom Watch' is thus entitled to legal protection.
- "Several weeks ago, before defendants began running tens of millions of dollars of ads to promote the Iraq War, when 'Freedom's Watch' was announced by Fleischer, Klayman warned the defendants not to infringe his mark and to cease and desist. Klayman not only sought to protect his mark, but objected to its use to destroy the real Freedom Watch trademark, as his group, while supportive of killing or capturing Saddam Hussein, views the protracted Iraq civil war as counterproductive to promoting freedom. Thus, the use by the Bush-Cheney administration of the Freedom Watch mark, even notwithstanding the alleged infringement, destroys its purpose, which is to promote freedom, not civil war and chaos."
Day in court
"A federal judge in Miami has granted Klayman a trial date and authorized discovery," Peter Baker reported October 22, 2007, in the Washington Post. "Klayman plans to begin Oct. 31 with a deposition of Mel Sembler, the big-time Bush family fundraiser and co-founder of Freedom's Watch. Klayman plans to follow that with depositions of four other founders: former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer on Nov. 1, former White House aide Brad Blakeman on Nov. 2 and Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matthew Brooks and casino executive William Weidner on Nov. 5. If the other side does not agree to the schedule, a judge may have to set one."
"Klayman wants to explore the origin of Freedom's Watch, saying that its ties to the White House make it 'likely it was concocted by them as a scheme to circumvent the ban on soft money political advertising'," Baker reported.
"Freedom's Watch spokesman Matt David said the group's founders are 'vigorously defending this case and firmly believe it has no merit.' But U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck in Miami, where the suit was filed, agreed to give Klayman a Feb. 19 trial date and two months of discovery," Baker wrote.
- ↑ Klayman v. Freedom's Watch, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:2007cv22433, Florida Southern Federal District Court, Miami Office, September 17, 2007; Judge Paul C. Huck; link posted by Justia.com.
- ↑ Freedom Watch, "'All The President's Men' Stole 'Freedom Watch' Trademark," PRNewswire-USNewswire, September 17, 2007.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Peter Baker, "A Battle Over Freedom," Washington Post, October 22, 2007.