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Foley & Lardner

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Foley & Lardner is a Boston headquartered legal firm. On its website the firm states that it's practice areas include "corporate governance and compliance, securities, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, labor and employment, intellectual property and IP litigation, outsourcing and information technology, and tax."[1]

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.[2]

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. The website was a hoax and was denounced by Peabody officials.[2]

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.[2] 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 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."[3] 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.[4] 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."[5]

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Website: http://www.foley.com/

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References

  1. Foley & Lardner, [http://www.foley.com/about/about.aspx?fulldesc=1 "About Us"Foley & Lardner website, accessed July 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "'Coal Cares'? Hoax targets industry" John Roach, MSNBC.com, May 10, 2011.
  3. Andrew Baum, Foley & Lardner LLP, Letter to Jacques Servin of The Yes Men on behalf of client Peabody Energy, May 11, 2011.
  4. Corynne McSherry, "Re: www.coalcares.com", Letter to Andrew Baum, May 12, 2011.
  5. Andy Bichlbaum, "Response to legal threat to coalcares.org from Peabody Energy" Yes Men, May 13, 2011.

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