Jones Day – Big Law Firm, Tiny Pink Ethics

Jones Day is the latest big law firm that seems to believe that its size and money give it a free pass with respect to ethcis. See Trademark Abuse by Jones Day to Suppress Free Speech.

BlockShopper is a website that reports on home purchases in various markets. When BlockShopper reported that two Jones Day associates bought a pair of expensive condos, Jones Day threw a hissy fit. Jones Day claims that using their name in that article, along with a link to their website, is trademark infringement.

Jones Day seems to have taken leave of its ethics by filing this complaint. (link courtesy of CMLP) While they may not appreciate the fact that an independent real estate website is reporting on where their associates bought property, there is this pesky thing called the First Amendment. Those 45 words allow websites to publish truthful matters from the public record — even if a big law firm doesn’t like it.

Interestingly enough, it does seem that BlockShopper lifted photographs of the Jones Day associates from the firm’s website. It would seem that the ethically challenged giant would have a better copyright case than a trademark case. Of course, there may be fair use arguments at BlockShopper’s disposal — but at least then the case wouldn’t be something that I will use in my classes as a negative example in an ethics segment.

Jones Day told BlockShopper it would drop the case if BlockShopper paid it $10,000 and agreed to never write about its lawyers’ real estate transactions again, according to the National Law Journal (subscription required). BlockShopper declined the offer. (source)

Good for them. Martin B. Carroll, Adam A Hachikian, and Daniel S. Hefter of Fox, Hefter, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP are defending BlockShopper. I’m just guessing that BlockShopper is getting pro bono or low-bono service, since it can’t possibly be making enough money to afford this kind of representation.

The complaint is signed by Jones Day lawyers, Paul W. Schroeder, Irene S. Fiorentinos, Meredith M. Wilkes, Robert P. Ducatman, and James W. Walworth Jr. All of them should be forced to attend remedial ethics counseling for affixing their names to this frivolous action.

A quote from Jones Day's website.  In light of this lawsuit, this looks like false advertising.

A quote from Jones Day's website. In light of this lawsuit, this looks like false advertising.

See Dozier Does it Again for a similar issue. When the big firms behave like this, is it any surprise that small firms follow suit?

UPDATE: Public Citizen has entered the fray with an amicus brief.

14 Responses to Jones Day – Big Law Firm, Tiny Pink Ethics

  1. [...] Citizen Jumps into Jones Day Trademark Fray A follow up to Jones Day – Big Law Firm, Tiny Pink Ethics Jones Day, a national law firm, found it objectionable when BlockShopper.com, a web site that [...]

  2. Tanner Andrews says:

    You’d like to think that the lawyers who filed the suit might be subject to sanctions. The standard for sanctions is very high, and with good cause, because we want to preserve vigorous advocacy. Still, you cannot make out a dilution claim on the facts given — and a firm which deals with trademark law really ought to know that.

  3. [...] can’t live with ‘em, can’t file frivolous trademark infringement lawsuits without ‘em. Some in the bloggosphere have been following this story for the past few months [...]

  4. [...] coverage by the Satyricon here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Jones Day – Big Law Firm, Small EthicsEFF: claim [...]

  5. [...] Day v. Blockshopper Settles The completely bogus lawsuit that Jones Day filed against Blockshopper has [...]

  6. [...] instead of thrown out. How can a link to a public page be considered privacy infringement? One legal blogger agrees with me (I hope it’s ok that I linked to him) – what do you [...]

  7. [...] online reports of the dispute come out in favour of BlockShopper’s position on this issue and cast Jones Day as a [...]

  8. [...] BlockShopper: BlockShopper is a website which describes itself as a “local news and market data service for current and aspiring homeowners”. It ran a few items noting purchases of real estate by associates of a large Ohio-based law firm (Jones Day). In the process it linked to the online biographies of the lawyers, and to the website of the firm. Jones Day sued, alleging trademark infringement. Ultimately, the lawsuit settled on terms which were viewed as favorable to the plaintiff, but the ensuing negative publicity was something that Jones Day may not have anticipated. The lawsuit caused an uproar on the internet, and caused public interest groups to try to get involved. As noted by Slate, one lawyer opined that the lawyers who brought the lawsuit against Blockshopper should be required to take ethics classes. [...]

  9. g grundmann says:

    What did Pol Pot and the American Revolutionaries have in common?
    Line up the lawyers first! You cannot trust anyone that lies for a living!

  10. heinrich says:

    fuck blockshopper – they disclose personal information to make a buck. this is NOT public information – f them and their fing families

  11. korey says:

    i have no love for lawyers, but blockshopper is an unethical company. glad they got sued!

  12. lawyer sites…

    Jones Day – Big Law Firm, Tiny Pink Ethics « The Legal Satyricon…

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