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Cease & Desist to BCE
A similar letter was served to Torstar Corp. via toronto.com counsel.

Note: No Allegations have been proven in Court
To: Mr. George Jewell
General Manager of the Canadaplus Network
And to: Sympatico-Lycos Inc.
207 Queen's Quay West, Suite 600,
Toronto, ON M5J 1A7

And to: Ms. L. Gibson
President and CEO of Bell Globemedia Interactive
720 King Street West
10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 2T3 Canada

August 21, 2001


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.

Friendship Enterprises 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 communities.

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.

Friendship Enterprises 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.

Friendship Enterprises 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 rights.

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.

Friendship Enterprises' 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 network.

Evidence indicates 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.
 

Sincerely,

Friendship Enterprises
 
 

_______________________
Mr. Ritchie Sinclair
 
 

_______________________
Mr. Garth Cole


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