Pryor Cashman filed a complaint today in federal court in the Southern District of New York on behalf of client Gerald Celente, an internationally recognized trend forecaster, against Google Inc. and David Chekroun, who operates the blog “geraldcelentechannel.blogspot.com,” and other bloggers operating “geraldcelente-blog.blogspot.com,” “geraldcelente-blog.blogspot.ca,” and “geraldcelente-blog.blogspot.co.uk,” all without Celente’s authorization.
Celente has become a well-known brand and a respected forecaster in the U.S. and around the world, and is relied upon for his predictions about the global financial markets and other events of historical importance. He makes dozens of T.V. and radio appearances each month and his opinions are sought by major national news organizations.
In a blatant attempt to leverage Celente’s well-known name, bloggers have used Celente’s name and trademark as a domain name for blogs where they post inflammatory content giving readers the false impression that the opinions expressed (many of which are offensive) are those of Celente. Bloggers trade on Celente’s valuable reputation to gain “click through” advertisements on the pages and earn income.
The blogs are hosted by Google’s Blogger. Although Celente notified Google on numerous occasions of the misuse of Celente’s name, image and trademark in the domains and on the blogs, Google failed to enforce its policies and took no action.
“This complaint was necessitated by Google’s refusal to act after repeated warnings that it was hosting infringers and impersonators. Google is one of the few social networking sites that has not developed a means for brand owners to protect their trademarks,” said Dyan Finguerra-DuCharme, a partner in Pryor Cashman’s Intellectual Property Group representing Celente in the litigation. “Impersonation and trademark infringement continue to dilute valuable intellectual property rights online. Google aggressively protects its own intellectual property and it should be no less conscientious in assuring that the intellectual property of others is similarly protected. We believe this is the case that will force Google’s hand in showing some online responsibility.”
"Google has continuously refused to enforce it's own anti-impostor policy when it's blatantly clear that my name and business identity have been stolen and my reputation is being damaged,” said Gerald Celente. “I am disappointed that events have escalated this far and it’s because either Google is generating substantial revenues from the Google AdSense advertisements from the impostor blogs or they just don't care about the damage they have caused.”
Gerald Celente is represented by Finguerra-DuCharme and Saritha C. Reddy, an associate in Pryor Cashman’s Litigation and Intellectual Property groups.