The larger corporation has
put so much legal pressure on the smaller company that they are being
forced to sell their domain–and Friday of this week they will be having a
mock funeral outside the U.K. offices of Chase Manhattan–and they will all
be taking off their shirts as a gesture to the bank, which has requested
that they turn over any “material” with the words “Chase” written on it.
Chase House was founded in 1993 as a management consultancy practice. As
e-mail became more important in their practice, the company purchased the
domain chase.co.uk for both email and a future web site. In November of
1997, Chase House received the first inquiry from Chase Manhattan about the
use of the Chase name from P. C. Kirschenbaum, a vice president of Chase
Manhattan Bank. Chase House CEO Richard Parker responded on headed
stationery and even mentioned the chase.co.uk web site, but no reply was
Fast forward to August of 1998. Chase House–then called Chase
Court–received a letter from Chase Manhattan’s new lawyers, Field
Fisher Waterhouse, demanding that they hand over both the domain name
and all other “Chase” material–and pay costs and damages. Chase
House at that point hired IP Rights solicitor Willoughby & Partners to fight their case.
In January, Chase Manhattan issued a claim in the High Court.
Willoughby & Partners issued a response which caused Field Fisher
Waterhouse to decide against the “simple advocacy route” to resolution.
Chase House at this point could not afford the time and money required to
fight a protracted legal battle, and had no choice but to negotiate a
Is this another case of the big guys using their power to take from the
little guys? Chase House thinks so, and they’re having a mock funeral in
front of the Chase Manhattan Bank in London this Friday as a protest.
They’ll literally be taking the shirts off their backs–as Chase Manhattan
has requested, and handing them over to Chase authorities. They’re also
encouraging folks to sign their condolences
book so they can show Chase Manhattan Bank just how folks feel.