What's In A Name? White Supremacists Battle Financial Firm
July 7, 2008 - 7:03 PM
(CNSNews.com) - An online news service catering to white supremacists may be sued by a financial company, which had the name 'Vanguard' first.
Neither Brian Mattes, a spokesperson for The Vanguard Group, Inc., nor the firm's lawyer, Chad O'Hara, would comment on the matter, because of the situation's "legal sensitivity."
However, O'Hara did confirm that no lawsuit has yet been filed against the Vanguard News Network. He refused to speculate on when or if that might change.
Vanguard News Network (VNN), based in Missouri, describes itself as a "group of disgusted and disaffected writers driven out of academia and journalism by the "'Semitical Correctness' that has denatured our culture."
"We have come together on the Internet to reclaim the American mind from the Jews," the website says. "In short, we are the Antibodies, and our advent heralds the day a White political force rises and reasserts civilization."
A banner just below the website's name reads, "No Jews. Just Right."
VNN calls itself "the first and only pro-White daily news service on the Internet." It went online in August 2000, and it claims to attract over 40,000 unique visitors a month.
The Vanguard financial services firm accuses the Vanguard News Network of breaking trademark laws.
In a letter to the news group, the Vanguard financial group said, "The value of Vanguard's trademark is being diluted due to your use of 'Vanguard News Network' to identify a white supremacy Internet site and related materials."
In the letter, the financial company's attorney, Chad O'Hara, said VNN could resolve the matter by transferring ownership of its "vanguardnewsnetwork" domain name to The Vanguard Group; and by agreeing not to use "Vanguard" or "vanguardnewsnetwork," or "any variation thereof, as a trademark or in any internet domain name in connection with any goods or services."
If the demands are not met, O'Hara said in the letter, "Vanguard reserves the right to take any and all legal action necessary to protect its rights."
Linder, the editor of the Vanguard News Network, noted in a September press release that "a Google search reveals hundreds of groups and companies using the term 'vanguard,' a common English word that cannot be protected by trademark."
According to Linder, "Vanguard Group's business -- financial services -- and its 'look' -- a Clipper ship -- lack even the remotest resemblance to any 'look' or service of Vanguard News Network.
"Furthermore, in the fourteen months we have supplied daily news to the white community, not a single person has written us in confusion," he said.
Linder accuses The Vanguard Group of filing a "frivolous lawsuit," something he said VNN would fight "with every means at its disposal."
"Vanguard Group's blatantly political attempt to intimidate a small, alternative news source is a perfect example of the sort of persecution in the form of frivolous lawsuit that has come to disgust normal Americans in recent years," Linder said.
In an e-mail response to CNSNews.com , Linder said he chose "Vanguard" as the name for his news website because he wanted to publish stories that the mainstream media is "too cowardly to confront."
"The idea is to provide reliable, daily, uncensored, pro-White news, with absolutely no Jews involved anywhere in the process," Linder said.
"We have spent more than a year establishing Vanguard News Network as the premier source for daily pro-White news and original opinion, and we will defend our legally and legitimately acquired Web address by any means necessary," he said.
Mark Schultz, a Chicago lawyer who specializes in intellectual property cases, said laws passed in the last decade do protect trademarks such as The Vanguard Group's.
Schultz offered the example of a pornographer using a name associated with children's programming. The company catering to children would find its value "diluted" and its reputation "tarnished," just by that association," Schultz said.
"To win a tarnishment case, you need to show that you have a famous mark, and I think courts have tended to set the bar lower than anyone thought they would when they came out with the rule."
Schultz expressed the opinion that Vanguard, the financial company, may very well find relief in trademark law, and he said it would be better for The Vanguard Group to take care of the problem now.
"Their chances of doing anything later to stop VNN dwindle with the more time that goes by," Schultz said.
"The most immediate thing you want to happen is for [VNN] to be stopped, to be enjoined by a court who will tell them, 'No, you can't do this, you have to stop right away,'" Schultz said.
"Frankly, these guys (VNN) probably won't last that long, but Vanguard would probably hate to find ten years from now that this Nazi group turned out to be some sort of well-known, famous leader in the movement, and it's way too late for Vanguard (the financial company) to do anything about it.
"That is their worst nightmare," he said. "There is always a chance that if you sit on your rights too long, you can end up losing them."
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