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another small fry asked to cease and desist

Just to add my story to the annals of domain name registrants who are being
threatened by a large corporation even when their is little chance of
confusion between our activities:

As the owner of the easel.com domain name, I am in receipt of a "cease and
desist" letter from the 5th Avenue lawyers of KSK International, a clothing
firm that produces an Easel line of clothing. Their trademark predates my
1996 registration of the domain name and my use of easel.com as the name of
my online gallery.

It seems highly unlikely that consumers can't distinguish between "clothing,
namely sweaters, shirts, skirts, sweater jackets, t-shirts, pants, leggings,
jackets, dresses and shorts" and the online children's advent calendar, oil
paintings, watercolors and lithographs on display at easel.com.

What really galls me is that no matter how indefensible their claim of
trademark infringement or dilution is, I'm going to lose the domain name
that I registered in good faith with no knowledge of KSK International and
their Easel line. NSI will put the name on hold and then neither of us will
be using it unless we go to court. While I hate to see this to happen, I
don't relish spending money and time I don't have to defend myself in court.
On the bright side, I've been lucky enough to speak with two intellectual
property attorneys who have generously given me pro bono advice on my
current standing.

If anyone has suggestions or advice on how I might best proceed I would be
happy to hear them; initially I am going to attempt negotiation with the
trademark owner, and see where we go from there. I sincerely hope that any
new mediation process gives voice to those without the resources to do
battle over these trademark issues. 

Penelope Schenk
Cambridge, Massachusetts