Andrew Baum is a partner with the Boston headquartered legal firm, Foley & Lardner LLP. In May 2011 Baum represented Peabody Energy in an attempt to have a hoax anti-coal website by the Yes Men remove any mention of Peabody.
A biographical note states that Baum, who is based in New York, ia a member of the firms "Trademark, Copyright & Advertising and IP Litigation Practices."
The biographical note states that "prior to joining Foley, Mr. Baum was a partner and managing principal with Darby & Darby P.C., where he represented major clients in trademark and copyright litigation, oversaw the management of international trademark portfolios, and supervised the intellectual property aspects of significant corporate transactions. Mr. Baum focuses his practice on trademark, unfair competition, false advertising and copyright litigation, counseling, licensing and a substantial amount of enforcement work on Internet domain names. He represents a broad cross-section of clients from the publishing, luxury goods, interactive entertainment, personnel staffing and home furnishings industries. Major cases include one in which he helped lead a team which defeated a $150 million damage claim for false advertising in a three-week jury trial, and successfully defended the verdict on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit."
Working for Peabody
In May 2011, as part of Asthma Awareness Month, a hoax website allegedly made by Peabody Energy offered free "Puff Puff" inhalers to anybody living within 200 miles of a coal plant. In addition to the re-branded inhalers, which promised to make asthmatic kids "show others who's cool at school," the website also stated that the company would pledge $10 towards medication as a part of its Coal Cares campaign. The website contained printable activities for youth. While visiting, one could also read up on why Peabody believed investing in coal was a better bet than alternatives such as solar and wind. A group called Coal Is Killing Kids worked with the Yes Lab, an extension of the Yes Men activist team, for a month and a half to develop the fake site.
After the prank, Peabody sent a letter to the groups, accusing them of misleadingly infringing upon Peabody's trademark and trade name. In the letter Peabody's lawyer, Andrew Baum from the legal firm Foley & Lardner, wrote that "your actions have already created substantial confusion actual confusion among the public. Our client has been besieged with emails and telephone inquiries from persons who believe that Peabody is actually involved with the "Coal Cares" website. This may give you the satisfaction of knowing you have helped perpetrate a successful hoax, but it also establishes without question your liability for trademark infringement as well as malicious interference with our client's business." An initial response to Peabody's letter by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation argued that, as the "Coal is Killing Kids" website was clearly satirical and as it was non-commercial, rejected the claim that Peabody's trademark was protected by the First Amendments. However, the flagged that some changes to the website would be made. In response, Coal is Killing Kids and the Yes Men said they would "cease falsely suggesting that Peabody cares about kids made sick by coal." They also wrote that "we have changed every instance of the word "Peabody" on www.coalcares.org to a rotating selection of the names of other large U.S. coal producers who, like Peabody, also need to be stopped from killing kids."
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- "Andrew Baum", Foley & Lardner website, accessed July 2011.
- "'Coal Cares'? Hoax targets industry" John Roach, MSNBC.com, May 10, 2011.
- Andrew Baum, Foley & Lardner LLP, Letter to Jacques Servin of The Yes Men on behalf of client Peabody Energy, May 11, 2011.
- Corynne McSherry, "Re: www.coalcares.com", Letter to Andrew Baum, May 12, 2011.
- Andy Bichlbaum, "Response to legal threat to coalcares.org from Peabody Energy" Yes Men, May 13, 2011.