Contact: Joseph Soldis
Anytime Online Traffic School
Press Release for immediate release
EMPIRE LAW STUDENT FENDS OFF ATTACKS FROM AMERICAN ONLINE "HIRED GUNS".
Santa Rosa, CA , April 17, 2003: When the big guns came out shooting,
former Sebastopol Police Officer Joseph Soldis, did not run. He reflected
on his 16 years of training and experience at the Sebastopol Police
Department where he learned during range training that caliber of the gun
wasn't the danger in gun fights, it was the accuracy which counted.
Soldis, who retired on a job-related injury in February, 2003, began his
first year at Empire Law School in January, 2003. He also opened a
internet-based traffic school program, Anytime On-Line Traffic School an
affiliate of www.TrafficSchoolOnline.com , owned by Steve Soldis (Founder
of nationwide Internet Traffic Schools). Using the acronym for his
company name, commonly applied to internet-based companies, Soldis
registered his domain name as www.aoltrafficschool.com.
Arent Fox LLP of Washington, D.C., representing America Online, quickly
contacted Soldis and demanded that he discontinue use of the domain name.
Additionally, AOL representatives demanded Soldis sign over ownership and
use of www.aoltrafficschool.com to AOL. When Soldis refused, AOL Attorney
Jim Davis contacted Soldis. Davis, representing himself as the "BIG GUNS"
of AOL lawyers, attempted to make "final attempts" to convince Soldis to
release ownership of his domain name. Davis threatened Soldis with legal
penalties in excess of $300,000.00 as well as legal fees. When Soldis
questioned the authority in which AOL based their demand, Soldis was told
that AOL had "won all other similar cases - thousands in fact" and that
Soldis didn't stand a chance of retaining his domain name.
When Soldis refused, Jim Davis of Arent Fox filed for hearing with the
National Arbitration Forum pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute
Resolution Policy, adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN- Geneva).
Soldis discussed his case with his law professors at Empire Law College of
Law, as well as Chicago Based Trademark Attorney Thomas Smith and finally
with acclaimed attorney Jim Higgins (Higgins in February, 2003, won a
United States Supreme Court Decision against Victoria's Secrets in a
similar domain name dispute case). Soldis was given pointers in his case.
Soldis focused his efforts using pinpoint accuracy vs the "Big Guns" in
preparing his response. He shot holes into the claims alleged by America
Online Attorney Jim Davis.
In a seven-page ruling issued on April 11, 2003, the National Arbitration
Forum agreed with Soldis and ruled in favor of Anytime Online Traffic
School. NAF Panelist Petter Rindforth said in his ruling that while the
disputed domain names were confusingly similar to the AOL's trademark,
America Online failed to prove their case against Anytime Online Traffic
School. Further, he said Soldis had rights and/or legitimate interest in
the domain names. NAF denied AOL's attempt to take control of the web
domain www.aoltrafficschool.com from Soldis.
Soldis said he was happy that "justice prevailed" against the big guns of
AOL. Soldis said, "It was time that AOL understood they don't own
exclusive right to 3 letters of our 26 letter alphabet. There are
millions of businesses world-wide who all have to share the same 26
letters of the alphabet. Some are going to overlap."
After completing law school, Soldis plans on practicing as a criminal
defense attorney. He also plans on assuming the role of David in David v
Golliath cases involving consumer rights law (pro-bono).