This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Hakim: This letter is a formal response to the letter written by you on October 16, 2000 addressed to Intrepid Network Concepts, Inc. the current owner and operator of mastermindforum.com. Before we address the specific issues outlined in the letter, we would like to take a moment to clarify the intention and purpose of MasterMind Forum(tm). It has never been the intention of our company to mislead the public or violate any trademarks. The MasterMind Forum(tm)’s primary existence was and still is to provide Internet content of general public interest. Primarily, our strategy is the utilization of an open, interactive discussion forum where visitor participants are able to freely express ideas and thoughts in a positive manner within an electronic forum. Secondarily, we provide useful and meaningful content, information, and product that visitor/participants freely choose to consume or not. While the MasterMind Forum(tm) originally did form based on a small “niche” (being Napoleon Hill’s life, philosophies, and teachings), the MasterMind Forum(tm) has, in reality, extended beyond this basic premise to include business, real estate, books, investments, and other financial personalities. Having stated the intention and purpose of MasterMind Forum(tm), we would like to acknowledge what seems to be your clients’ 3 underlying concerns. 1. There is concern that the MasterMind Forum(tm) may somehow confuse the general public as to a possible relationship or endorsement with The Napoleon Hill Foundation. 2. There is concern of our electronic usage of the name/term “Napoleon Hill”. 3. There is concern of our electronic usage of the term “mastermind”. Having stated the concerns, these are the responses: 1. We respect the Napoleon Hill Foundation’s opinion that some public confusion could occur regarding the relationship and endorsement of MasterMind Forum(tm) by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. We believe this to be very unlikely. However, we haven taken steps to prominently display and announce a Legal Disclaimer specifically stating
that there is no “official” business relationship, association, or endorsement by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. 2. While the term/name “Napoleon Hill” may be trademarked, the use of it in print, electronic content, or “source code” is in itself not a “violation” as your letter claims. There are many famous companies and individuals whom have trademarked their names. Such examples include: the singer Madonna, sports star Michael Jordan, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, among others. But that does not mean the general press, writers, content providers, or the general public are automatically “violating” trademarks. The use of those trademarked names in print is legal, especially in the context of civil, open discussion, editorials, opinions, and Free Speech. Additionally, because the late Napoleon Hill was a public figure and famous author, he is a legitimate subject of public discussions like any other public figure. We believe that the Napoleon Hill Foundation’s attempt to “censor” us is quite inappropriate and reflects negatively on the organization. Because our usage of Napoleon Hill is descriptive and appropriate to the content, discussions, and context we provide, we will continue to refer and use the name/term “Napoleon Hill” as appropriate while respecting the disassociation of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. 3. The term “mastermind” has many uses. While Napoleon Hill helped popularize the term “mastermind” and a specific usage and activity for it, he did not “create” the word “mastermind”, nor the concept of people getting together to discuss matters. Other synonyms to “mastermind” could be “committee”, “meeting”, “brainstorming”, “hearings”, among others. In fact, the term “mastermind”, in mainstream English, has become synonymous as a descriptor/adjective for the mind, mental/intellectual activity, and leadership roles. Webster’s New World Thesaurus lists “leader”, “expert”, “genius”, “administrator”, “philosopher”, “author”, and “supervise” as synonyms to mastermind. The Random House College Dictionary defines “mastermind” as “to plan and direct activities skillfully” and “a person who originates or is primarily responsible for the execution of a particular idea, project, or the like.” Further, a casual search of most Internet search engines will primarily list “mastermind” as the name of a board game requiring extensive mental/intellectual activity, not Napoleon Hill’s definition of “mastermind”. The website Mastermind.net is utilized by Mastermind Technology, Inc. The website Mastermind.com is utilized by Mastermind Consulting Services. Clearly, the term “mastermind” is in the public domain and that the implication the Napoleon Hill Foundation somehow “owns” the word/concept and causes confusion is inaccurate. Nevertheless, the aforementioned written disclaimer should alleviate any such possibility and modifications will be made to the existing text on the website to assist in this. Additionally, we have modified instances of “Mastermind Resource Center” to “MasterMind Forum Resource Center”. Similar to the case with the term/name “Napoleon Hill”, we will use the word/term “mastermind” as we deem appropriate while respecting the disassociation of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. As part of the closing comments of this written response, it is evident that the Napoleon Hill Foundation has not done extensive due diligence on MasterMind Forum(tm) in the context of the
rest of the Internet. While they think they are serving by “protecting” the name of “Napoleon Hill” and “mastermind”, they will only aggravate the situation by pursuing this adversarial course of action. Instead of promoting synergy and relationships, they are attempting to take a confrontational and proprietary approach. It is our hope that this matter can be resolved with this letter and that the actions we have taken in “good faith” are sufficient to alleviate your client’s concerns. We understand that you are only representing your clients. We hope that you can better explain the “truth” of the situation and the weakness of their case of accusations and allegations. Any further legal action and correspondence can only result in producing negative publicity, costly legal fees, and disruptions for both parties. Thank you for your careful consideration and attention to this matter. Sincerely,
Matthew Chan, Administrator Intrepid Network Concepts, Inc. P.S. Because of the loyal following MasterMind Forum™, we have informed our readers of this dispute. We do not want to publicize this any more than we have to because it is somewhat demoralizing and certainly not in the true spirit of why MasterMind Forum was created. If your client finds this letter and our response satisfactory, we would appreciate receiving a faxed notification to 734-758-2660 of this so that we can quickly remove public messages concerning this unfortunate dispute. Thank you.