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Letter From A Netscape Lawyer

The letters below refer to a parody page that pokes fun at the "N" brand of web browser.


Netscape Communications Corporation
501 East Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043
Tel. 415-254-1900
Fax 415-528-4124

June 4, 1996

Mr. Steven M. Kremer
Kremer Internet Design
(Address Witheld)

Re: NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR Web Site

Dear Mr. Kremer,

We write concerning your NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR web site, which we recently visited. While we appreciate the humor, and the backhanded compliment, we have an obligation to protect the distinctive nature of the NETSCAPE trademark, logo and interface. As we are certain you can appreciate, Netscape has expended substantial time and resources in developing the considerable recognition of and goodwill associated with the NETSCAPE name and mark.

We understand and appreciate that parody is intended, and that parody is permitted under the trademark laws. Nevertheless, we believe that your use of our logo and a similar name creates a possibility of confusion and dilutes the distinctiveness of our marks.

In the interests of supporting humor on the Internet, but at the same time protecting our rights, we would be willing to grant you a short-term, three month non-exclusive license to use the mark and logo, as long as you are willing to remove the confusing materials at the end of the three month period.

I will look forward to receiving your reply by June 18, 1996. Thank you in advance for your understanding of our need to protect our trademark rights.

Sincerely,
Mitchell Baker
Associate General Counsel




Steven M. Kremer
(Address Witheld)

June 12, 1996

Mr. Mitchell Baker
Associate General Counsel
Netscape Communications Corporation
501 East Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043

Re: NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR Web Site

Dear Mr. Baker,

This is a response to your letter of June 4, 1996.

I understand and appreciate your effort to protect the NETSCAPE trademark and logo. Although I don't agree that my web page could in any way create the possibility of confusion or could dilute the distinctiveness of your marks.

The NETSCAPE name, web site, and URL is by far the most widely known entity on the World Wide Web. I don't think anyone could possibly confuse my one parody page and my completely different URL with the real NETSCAPE. Since the core business of NETSCAPE is the creation of browser and software programs, and since I offer neither programs, I see no conflict.

I'm sure you have heard the old phrase "they won the battle, but lost the war." Protecting my right to parody a well known product that I have caused no harm would be a battle I feel I could win. But I would lose in the end. I probably would lose what little savings I have on legal fees. So you win the battle by concession.

But I will let you know your actions will not have a "chilling" effect on my parodies. If I find something Netscape does that deems parody, you are fair game, as is anyone or anything in the public arena.

I will remove the entire "Netscrape Negotiator Plug In" page in three months if you grant me one condition.

Ever since Coca Cola (R) became the "Official Soft Drink Of Summer" (SM) I have wanted my Web site to be the "Official Web Site" of something. I see all those "Official" sites out there and I feel the trend is passing me by. So for the remaining three months the Netscrape Negotiator Plug In page is on-line would you allow me to label and promote it as:

"Netscrape Negotiator Plug Ins 'The Official Parody Page of Netscape Navigator Plug Ins' as licensed by the Netscape Communications Corporation. Non-exclusive license expires XX/XX/96."

I would even make the words "Netscape Communications Corporation" a link to your home page. You would determine the expiration date as three months from the date of your return letter.

I believe this is a fair and equitable solution to ending the confusion and dilution you feel the page is causing your trademark. It also would allow me to realize a dream to have my page be an Official something.

Sincerely,
Steven M. Kremer




Netscape Communications Corporation
501 East Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043
Tel. 415-254-1900
Fax 415-528-4124

September 18, 1996

Mr. Steven M. Kremer
Kremer Internet Design
(Address Witheld)

Re: Agreement with Netscape Communications Corporation

Dear Mr. Kremer,

Thank you for your response to our letter. We appreciate your willingness to accommodate our need to protect our trademark rights. We enjoyed your letter, and applaud your commitment to carrying on the invaluable art of parody.

I regret that we can't give you formal approval to identify yourself as The Official Parody Page of Netscape Navigator Plug Ins. We do, however, look forward to visiting and enjoying your site in the future.

Enclosed please find a limited three month agreement. Please sign it, date it on the first page, and return it to me by October 3, 1996.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call.

Sincerely,
Mitchell Baker
Associate General Counsel




AGREEMENT


This Agreement, effective as of August 28, 1996 (the "Effective Date"), is by and between NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION ("Netscape"), located and doing business at 501 E. Middlefield Road, Mountain View, California 94043 and STEVEN M. KREMER ("Kremer"), and individual who resides at (Address Witheld).

Whereas Kremer wishes to continue using the name NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR and the Netscape "N" logo on the Netscrape Negotiator Inline Plug-In page of his website for a period of three months for the Effective Date, and

Whereas Netscape wishes to allow such limited usage of its "N" logo and of the confusingly similar mark NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR,

NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants and obligations herein set forth, the parties hereby agree as follows:

1.   Netscape shall not object to the use by Kremer of the name NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR and/or the Netscape "N" logo exactly as used on the web page attached hereto as Exhibit A and incorporated herein by reference for a period of three months for the Effective Date, and shall take no action to oppose such limited use. No other use of NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR or the Netscape "N" logo is hereby authorized, nor is any use of any kind of any other Netscape trademark or logo.

2.   Kremer shall not make any other use of NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR and/or the Netscape "N" logo other than as described above, and shall make no use in such a manner as to imply that Netscape is a source of, endorses, sponsors, authorizes or licenses the Netscrape Negotiator Inline Plug-Ins web page.

3.   Kremer shall place the following disclaimer on the aforementioned web page: "NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR and the Netscape Communications Corporation logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Netscape Communications Corporation in the United States and other countries. Netscape Communications Corporation has not authorized, sponsored, endorsed or approved this publication and is not responsible for its content."

4.   Kremer shall cease all use of the name NETSCRAPE NEGOTIATOR and of the Netscape "N" logo within three (3) months of the Effective Date.

5.   This agreement contains the entire understanding between the parties hereto with respect to the subject matter.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this agreement has been executed by the respective parties or their duly authorized officers.

NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION STEVEN M. KREMER
By:
   Michael J. Homer
   Senior Vice President,
   Marketing
By:
   Steven M. Kremer



You know what they say..truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Everything you read above is true.

I signed the AGREEMENT and sent it to Netscape. I continue my quest to be an official something.


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