Goldman Sachs recently made headlines demanding that blogger Mike Morgan take down the gripe site GoldmanSachs666.com. Instead, Morgan filed a preemptive lawsuit against the investment bank.
In his complaint, filed Monday in federal district court in the southern district of Florida, Morgan says that he owns the domain name GoldmanSachs666.com, which he uses "to display news and commentary" regarding the bank.
Morgan also asks the court to declare that his use of the name is lawful and doesn't infringe on Goldman Sachs' trademark or violate other laws.
"He wants nothing more than to be able to have the opportunity to publish news and commentary about matters of interest to him on the Internet," said his attorney, Joseph Beckman.
A lawyer for the bank sent Morgan a letter last week demanding that stop using the Goldman Sachs trademark in the site's domain name.
A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said the company sent Morgan the cease and desist letter to protect itself. "This is not about Mr. Morgan's right to express his views. It's about his infringement of our trademark," the spokesperson said.
The site, which went live at the end of March, is devoted to criticizing the bank, with posts like, "Breakup Goldman Sachs -- Too Big To Fail Means Too Much Power."
Courts have rebuffed other companies that have attempted to use trademark law to shutter gripe sites. For example, last year a court rejected Wal-Mart's attempt to shut down the sites walocaust.com and walqaeda.com.
In general, courts determine trademark disputes by evaluating whether a particular use of a trademark is likely to confuse people. Morgan's site currently has a disclaimer at the top stating it isn't affiliated with Goldman Sachs.