of the Canadaplus Network
And to: Sympatico-Lycos
207 Queen's Quay
West, Suite 600,
Toronto, ON M5J
And to: Ms. L. Gibson
President and CEO
of Bell Globemedia Interactive
720 King Street
M5V 2T3 Canada
Re: The Canadaplus
Network and toronto.com:
Dear Sirs and Madam,
It has come to our
attention that your organizations have recently launched a new Canada-wide
website network called the "Canadaplus Network". We understand that
Mr. George Jewell, formerly the General Manager of toronto.com, is now
the General Manager in charge of this new expansion. We also understand
that "plus" registrations for every Canadian province and city, large or
small have been registered by Bell Actimedia, with a handful already in
the trademark registration process at the CPTO. We also understand that
the toronto.com website is integrally involved and is, in fact, the flagship
of the "new" Canadaplus network.
and toronto.com are involved in a Federal Court "intellectual property"
lawsuit (Federal Court File No. T-1163-99) which has not yet come to trial.
The action however has required the full disclosure and scrutiny of Friendship
Enterprises' website design interface and conceptual infrastructure for
their Canada-wide website network, which is called the, "Canada2 Network"
with it's flagship, Toronto2.com.
The toronto.com suit
was originally initiated by George Jewell who supplied the claim witness
affidavit, the reply affidavit and was the only party that the Defendants
were allowed to discover. He has scrutinized the Toronto2.com website,
the related Canada2 Network, and Friendship Enterprises materials on essentially
a daily basis for more than two years. The Jewell allegations against Friendship
Enterprises are speculative, with no evidence whatsoever to support them,
as was pointed out by Federal Court Judge, E. Heneghan in her reasons for
denying toronto.com's motion to injunct Friendship Enterprises. We
have contended from the outset of the toronto.com action that Mr. Jewell
coveted our designs and concepts and intended to steal them. toronto.com
in fact requested in their claim that the Federal Court deliver all our
materials to them for their use, as well as a proprietary trademark declaration
for toronto.com, and $500,000, plus!
It appears to us,
and to others, that your newly designed and integrated Canadaplus network
of websites, specifically Vancouverplus located at http://vancouverplus.sympatico.ca,
calgaryplus located at http://calgaryplus.sympatico.ca, edmontonplus located
at http://edmontonplus.sympatico.ca, ottawaplus located at http://ottawaplus.sympatico.ca
and toronto.com are in fact the conceptual infrastructure and design templates
of our Friendship Enterprises initiative which we developed for Canadian
The new "interface"
get-up with a deep blue background for basic site pages and the front page,
colour-filled site sections and names, section sponsorship plans, twin-pillar
/ full-page layouts, upper framer and Canadaplus logos on all page footers
are all incredibly similar to Toronto2, as is the overall toronto.com role
in the Canadaplus network. In the past one could easily tell the distinct
difference in "get-up", at a glance, between toronto.com and Toronto2.
We are quite aware
that Citysearch.com have recently implemented the same re-design to their
array of city guide web sites in the USA and Australia. That the templates
are new, and that they are very similar to our templates, and that they
have been published by Ticketmaster-Citysearch Inc., who are partners in
toronto.com, does not reassure Garth or I as to the source of this new
web page interface. Furthermore, the number and the variety of "plus"
registrations recently purchased by Bell indicate that regional networks,
well outside the scope of the "Citysearch" vision, are to be implemented.
have in their possession evidence indicating that they were intentionally
mislead by toronto.com and toronto.com's legal counsel into believing that
Mr. Jewell remained with toronto.com, when in fact Mr. Jewell had been
hard at work appropriating and implementing a thinly veiled copy of the
Canada2 Network for Bell Actimedia /Sympatico-Lycos Inc. / Ticketmaster-CitySearch
Inc. and toronto.com use.
We request that Sympatico-Lycos
Inc. immediately cease and desist from the use of, and the advertisement
of, the new design interface for the Canadaplus network generated from
Edmontonplus.sympatico.ca. We believe that these templates are an infringement
of our intellectual property rights and a matter to be resolved at trial.
We consider the above mentioned similarities, and others, to be public
evidence of your new General Manager, Mr. Jewell's, illegal appropriations.
We also allege that the aggregation of your city sites together at Canadaplus.ca
is a further infringement of our original concept, without however, the
values inherent in our intent. Your organization's actions damage the credibility
of our Canada2 initiative and they create a situation where confusion now
has a likelihood to arise.
To avoid further
action on the part of Friendship Enterprises, and to remedy this situation
without further damages, we request that those responsible for the Canadaplus
Network websites remove the "horizontal" links between their neighbouring
websites. They serve no fundamental purpose in your enterprise, in that
these websites "inform locally" rather than cross-connect people and communities.
Similarly, the links to the other members of the Canadaplus network from
Canadaplus.ca must be deactivated until this matter is finally decided
in the Federal courts. The Canadaplus websites could return to using their
former interface templates, still in use by Quebecplus and Montrealplus,
until the matters of contention are resolved, or a more reasonable alternative.
We also expect that any further expansions or advertising of the Canadaplus
network will cease until the matter at issue is resolved.
have laboured at the details, parameters and poetry of the Canada2 network
for many years. We have spent thousands of man hours and thousands
of dollars developing our project for Canadians. We have registered our
names in the same cities and for the same provinces and regions as you
have, yet ours were registered and online long before yours.
We have intellectual property rights in our enterprise and have every right
and reason to vigorously defend them against actions that infringe those
The aspects of our
conception that are being incorporated into "toronto.com" (within which
we include the canadaplus network), we believe, devalue our intent, and
in so doing, devalue Canadians and Canadian communities. We believe that
the significator "plus" and "2", in tandem with a variety of city, provincial,
and regional websites, joined at the hip to toronto.com, and integrated
together at Canadaplus is much more than a mere coincidence, especially
with Mr. Jewell at the helm.
Will there be confusion
between "toronto.com" as the flagship website of the "Canadaplus network"
and "Toronto2.com" as the flagship of the "Canada2 network"? Of course!
People comment immediately on seeing the new toronto.com web site.
The re-designed toronto.com looks and feels virtually identical to Toronto2.
Toronto2 website, which has been available to the public since June of
1999, has for the first time been forced into inaccessability to avoid
the increased likelihood of related damages. We believe that the recent
inconsiderate actions of toronto.com and Sympatico-Lycos Inc. present a
very real threat to the future of Canada's permanent community internet
that compliance with our requests is not on the "toronto.com" agenda, however,
we hope that Sympatico-Lycos Inc. will see the wisdom in doing so. We need
our website up immediately, so we must have your response by 1:00p.m. Friday
August 24, 2001 or we will act to protect our property.
We understand that
your developers will need adequate time to reconfigure your websites to
their former templates and would be satisfied waiting to re-activate the
Toronto2 site sections until the following Friday, August 31, 2001. We
request however that toronto.com be reconfigured first. To that end we
are also contacting the toronto.com solicitors.
Mr. Ritchie Sinclair
Mr. Garth Cole