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Thread: Fog (Festool Owners Group)?

  1. #1

    Fog (Festool Owners Group)?

    So that Matthew doesn't have to answer 100's of e-mails, can anyone explain here why the FOG board is down?

  2. #2

    Why is the Festool Owners Group website down?......

    To best answer to your question I am reprinting the letter sent out to Fog members this morning......

    Dear Festool Members,
    I have bad news.

    You have been great members of the Festool Owners Group, and it has been my pleasure to build a forum that provides thousands of people with a unique space to discuss and promote Festool tools.
    As members, you know that I have worked tirelessly to build a site that helps current and potential Festool customers, Festool dealers, and Festool as a company. Many of you have used the forum to
    connect with others, learn about the tools, and create a wonderful community of knowledge and support. Also, the Festool Owners Group has led to increased sales for Festool. Knowing that my “little
    forum” has been beneficial to customers as well as the company makes me very proud!

    Festool has filed a trademark violation claim against the Festool Owners Group. For the past couple of weeks, I have spent many stressful hours communicating with Christian Oltzscher, Martin Johnson,
    and the lawyer hired by Festool. I had hoped Festool might change course and negotiate an agreement with me instead of filing a trademark violation claim. However, on 7/2/08 I received a copy of Festool's
    trademark claim, registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The remedy Festool seeks is that I transfer the Festool Owners Group domain to them, based on the following grounds:
    (1) The domain is confusingly similar to the Festool trademark; AND
    (2) I have no rights or legitimate interests in the domain; AND
    (3) I registered and am using the domain in bad faith.

    To win a WIPO complaint, Festool must prove ALL THREE of the above conditions.

    It is my opinion that the above "grounds" do not describe the Festool Owners Group. The forum has always been managed with good will towards Festool, and has been a benefit to Festool, Festool customers,
    and Festool dealers. It is my opinion that a WIPO panel would decide in favor of the forum. However, proving my case would take many hours of legal representation to file and support a WIPO counterclaim.
    I'm not sure I have the resources for that effort. Except for a small amount of money that has come from donations, the Festool Owners Group has been maintained entirely by my private funds, and I have already
    lost money on the venture.

    The Festool Owners Group has always been an extension of my woodworking hobby. It was exciting and fun for me to build it and see it grow, and it always made me happy to see how many people get pleasure
    from the forum. It never occurred to me that the Festool Owners Group could ever be accused of "ill will" towards Festool.

    For my own protection, I have had to shut down the Festool Owners Group. It will remain down until I get a better understanding of the legalities of what I'm facing, or until I am able to resolve the situation amicably
    with Festool.

    My apologies for any inconvenience this causes, but I trust that you all understand my situation.

    If you wish to know more about the trademark violation Festool has filed against the forum, write to the following people:
    Martin Johnson,
    Christian Oltzscher,

  3. Current Position

    Good Morning,
    First, let me say that so far I have received 643 supportive e-mails from members of the FOG, friends of members, even members' spouses. The letters have come from people in all walks of life. Support letters have come from Festool's own dealers.

    So far, literally, I have only received two letters in support of Festool's position: one from Festool itself, and another from a member of this forum who posted earlier in this discussion.

    This whole thing can be boiled down to a few relatively simple points:
    1. Festool decided they wanted to possess the festoolownersgroup domain because they believe it falls under the jurisdiction of their trademark. I received e-mails informing me that I must transfer the domain to Festool.
    2. I refused to transfer the domain to Festool for what they offered (essentially my registration fees). I gave them a figure which I thought the domain was worth; they refused it. For a couple of weeks, after receiving paperwork from Festool's lawyer, I communicated with Martin Johnson and asked him repeatedly to negotiate rather than litigate. All this time, I kept the FOG up and running.
    3. On 7/2/08, I received a FedEx containing Festool's legal claim to seize the domain from me. I wrote to Christian Oltzscher and once again asked Festool to cease litigating for the domain. Still, I kept the forum up and running.
    4. On 7/3/08, having received no response from Mr. Oltzscher, I chose to shut the site down for my own protection.

    I'm not a lawyer. I received Festool's official WIPO filing, formally accusing me of using the festoolownersgroup domain in "ill will" of Festool. They are accusing me of violating their trademark. They have retained a large law firm to represent them in this case. In previous documents from their lawyer, Festool stated that they believe I am operating my forum in violation of state and federal laws. Why would I keep the site up in a situation like that? Mr. Johnson says he is "perplexed." Can it really be that perplexing to Festool that I shut the site down under such circumstances?

    The letter posted above from Martin Johnson (a vice president in Festool's marketing department) does not change the central point: Festool has decided that they want the festoolownersgroup domain, and I won't transfer it, so they are using legal action to take it from me. Mr. Johnson's letter (which I have not seen except in this forum, by the way) tells the same story I just described.

    John and Bob have suggested there may be "another side" to this story. I'd love to hear it.

    My belief is that the Festool Owners Group is not in violation of Festool's trademark. Why should I transfer the domain to them, essentially for free, after all the hard work I have done building it up? How many of you would simply hand over a domain like the one I built up, just because a company claims you are violating their trademark?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hayes, Virginia

    Closing This Thread

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I have given this a lot of consideration and I have decided to remove most of the posts and close this thread. In this case I feel obligated to provide everyone with my reasons.

    - The Festool Owners Group (FOG) is a competitive Forum to SawMill Creek. Given that the FOG Forum is off-line I have allowed this thread to exist here as a professional courtesy in an effort to let people know that the Forum is off-line and why.

    - It is not our mission to get involved in a dispute between two outside parties whether it be a legal matter or some other type of disagreement. This just isn't the place to resolve these kinds of issues nor are we equipped to provide arbitration services here.

    - This thread has already caused us to have to remove/edit several posts and I just received a message that requested a post be removed or face some kind of action, the author wasn't specific what he would do.

    In the future the subject of the Festool Owners Group (FOG) will not be a subject that we will discuss here in any context, the topic is now banned in all of our Forums.

    Our Community does not have a dog in this fight, lets keep it that way.

    I have been asked to allow this thread to remain in public view and I have agreed to do so as a courtesy to SawMill Creek Members who also frequent the FOG Forum.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 07-05-2008 at 6:09 AM.

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