DaimlerChrysler Sues Fayetteville Man
Posted April 5, 2002 4:42 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A billion-dollar car company said pornography and its trademark do not mix. So, DaimlerChrysler Corporation filed a lawsuit this week against a Fayetteville man.
"I love what everybody else loves -- the ability to take the top down, the doors off and leave them at home with all your troubles," said Nathan Collier.
Collier's love for his Jeep is the reason he started a Web site called Hardcorejeep.com. Collier said that the site is a place for Jeep owners to exchange pictures and stories about their SUVs. Until recently, there was also a section that showed topless women with the vehicles.
"It was secondary entertainment to the Web site," Collier said. "It was never intended to be pornographic in any way. It was something similar to calendars hanging in a mechanic's shop, just to have a little fun."
DaimlerChrysler disagreed and filed a $600,000 lawsuit against Collier claiming trademark infringement. The company said that the lawsuit was needed to protect its Jeep brand name from being tarnished by improper use on the Internet.
Collier said that the lawsuit is a classic case of David versus Goliath: the big company going after the small man. He said that he cannot afford an attorney and that he is being made an example of.
A spokesperson for DaimlerChrysler said, "Ironically, the Web site operator recently removed some of the pornographic material after he was threatened with a separate copyright lawsuit for copying and posting the pornographic images without permission."
Collier said that despite the lawsuit, he is still a hardcore jeep lover, but realizes his Web site's future is in jeopardy.
The lawsuit claims DaimlerChrysler first became aware of the Web site after a phone call from an irate parent whose child had found the pictures of the women on Collier's Web site.