"Taubman Sucks!"
by Henry Charles Mishkoff

About the Author

To do this story justice, "Taubman Sucks!" would have to be created as a collaborative effort involving four different people:

  • A professional writer, who can give full expression to the dramatic events that permeated the TaubmanSucks case.

  • A computer geek, who fully understands the complex technical issues that formed the foundation of the case.

  • An Internet guru, who can explore the confusing questions raised by a case in which the legal and online worlds were inextricably intertwined.

  • The defendant, who personally suffered through a year and a half of intense legal harassment.

As luck would have it, Henry Charles Mishkoff happens to be all four of these people.

A Professional Writer...

Mishkoff has written two books, a dozen magazine and newspaper articles, and numerous reference manuals. Additionally, his first short story was awarded the Grand Prize in a contest sponsored by the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Mishkoff's published books are:

  • Understanding Artificial Intelligence, published by Texas Instruments (1985), Radio Shack (1986), and in two editions by Howard W. Sams & Co. (1986, 1988). It serves as a supplementary textbook in college-level AI courses, and has been translated into several foreign languages. Understanding Artificial Intelligence is considered to be part of the standard bibliography in the field of artificial intelligence.

  • Cracking the Peanut: Your IBM PCjr Companion, published by both Prentice-Hall and Wordware in 1984.

Mishkoff's magazine and newspaper articles include:

  • CyberBiz (a column about business-related uses of the Internet), The Met (1995)

  • Billing Systems: They Aren't Just for Billing Anymore, Cellular Business (November 1992)

  • Conferencing Software Facilitates Organizational Groupwork, Link-Up (May/June 1991)

  • U.S. Customs Clears Imports Electronically, MIS Week (August 7, 1989)

  • The EDI-Fication of Texas Instruments, CIO (September 1988)

  • The Network Nation Emerges, Management Review (August 1986)

A Computer Geek...

Mishkoff, a computer professional since 1970, has held positions as a programmer, a systems designer, and a project manager. He's developed and taught courses on telecommunication and other aspects of computer technology. Since 1983, Mishkoff has largely been self-employed as a computer consultant.

An Internet Guru...

Mishkoff founded WebFeats, the first independent web-development company in the D/FW area, in 1995. Since then, Mishkoff has created and maintained websites for national and local companies including the Cellular One Group, HeartPlace at Baylor, Cardiovascular Innovations, Champagne DeMeric, Wyndham Travel, and Nursefinders.

As a hobby, Mishkoff has used the Internet to explore and document his family history (which led directly to the organization of the first-ever Mishkoff family reunion). He regularly pursues several additional Internet-related hobbies – and as documented in "Taubman Sucks!", it was one of those hobbies that, to his surprise, led directly to Mishkoff's status as...

The Defendant!

On August 7, 2001, the Taubman Company sued Mishkoff for trademark infringement, claiming that his ShopsAtWillowBend.com website was unfairly competing with them and was confusing consumers.

In the succeeding 18 months, Mishkoff was subjected to an unrelenting series of venomous legal attacks. Taubman's lawyers did not hesitate to stoop to misrepresentation, deception, and even flagrant lies in the dogged pursuit of the victory that eventually eluded them. Thanks to the help of a stunningly supportive Internet community, he managed to marshal the resources he needed to withstand the onslaught.

On February 7, 2003, Mishkoff emerged victorious from what has become known as the "TaubmanSucks case." A precedent-setting decision by the United States Court of Appeals defended Mishkoff's right of free speech and explicitly extended First Amendment rights to the use of trademarks in domain names.

In "Taubman Sucks!", Mishkoff draws on his all his years of experience as a writer, a computer geek, an Internet guru, and – most importantly – as the defendant in the TaubmanSucks case to present a first-person view of the lawsuit that made Internet and legal history.

Next: TaubmanSucks (the Website) Soars into the Blogosphere

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