Prizepatrol.net Domain Squabble

Fake News written by James Baughn on Friday, January 22, 1999

from the lawyers-continue-to-reign-their-domain dept.

The endless series of trademark disputes over domain names continues. Now Publishers Clearing House (PCH) is suing Linux Mall for its "unauthorized" use of the prizepatrol.net domain name. Earlier today, executives at Linux Mall received ominous "You might already be a defendant!" letters in the mail signed by Ed McMahon.

Since registering prizepatrol.net in September 1998, Linux Mall has kept its plans for the domain name secret. However, with the help of our faithful Vast Spy Network(tm), Humorix has been able to piece together Linux Mall's future strategy. It involves America Online's marketing strategy (filling people's mailboxes with floppy disks and CD-ROMs) and PCH's sweepstakes scheme.

According to our sources, Linux Mall has plans to send bulk quantities of modified Red Hat Linux CDs to millions of postal addresses across the US. Linux Mall and Red Hat will jointly pay for this marketing campaign. Each CD will come with full documentation on disk, along with a printed instruction sheet, a "What the heck is Linux?" promotional leaflet, and an "Install this free software and win!" notice.

The sweepstakes scheme is simple: "Install Linux and you could be visited by the Linux Mall Prize Patrol!" When the recipient uses Linux to connect to the Internet, they will have the option to send the serial number of their CD (along with their contact info) to prizepatrol.net. A drawing will be held to determine the winning serial numbers. Linux Mall employees dressed in Tux the Penguin costumes (the Prize Patrol) will deliver the prizes to the winners.

Details of the PCH lawsuit against Linux Mall have been sketchy. We do know that PCH holds the prizepatrol.com domain name, so they may have a valid legal claim to prizepatrol.net. We'll keep you posted with the latest updates to this story as fast as we can make them up.

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