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The wrath of SantaCon Domain-name flap hits pub crawl

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Old 07-27-2019, 07:03 AM   #1
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Default The wrath of SantaCon Domain-name flap hits pub crawl

The wrath of SantaCon
Domain-name flap hits pub crawl

By Larry McShane

New York Daily News

The annual SantaCon ugliness is off to an early start this year.
A Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit seeks a legal determination of who’s naughty and who’s nice when it comes to ownership of the SantaCon.com internet domain and its trademark registration.
In addition, allegations have been leveled about a 2016 cash extortion try by a shadowy figure known only as “Kristopher Kringle,” according to court papers filed Friday.
The legal battle pits four plaintiffs against defendant Participatory Safety Inc., for control of the annual out-of-control pre-Christmas celebration where folks dressed as Santa hit the city for a daylong pub crawl. Court papers acknowledge that both sides registered the domain names in the same year, 2015 — with Manhattan-based Participatory Safety filing first in January.
Plantiffs Eddie Miller, Digital Marketing & Events, USMarketing.com and Damons List filed 11 months later, but insist they had “no knowledge of defendant Participatory Safety Inc.” at the time, according to the lawsuit. Their 18-page request for a trial notes that use of the SantaCon name actually dates back to 1994, when the first-ever event was held in San Francisco.
SantaCon has since spread across the county and around the world, developing a reputation for drunken shenanigans. Last year’s Manhattan event led to two arrests and the issuing of 50 summonses, while police across the river in Hoboken, N.J., arrested 14 revelers.
The plaintiffs also alleged that a man identified only as “Kristopher Kringle” approached several New York bar owners before the 2016 event, trying to ho-ho-hold them up for $400 after identifying himself as a representative of the real SantaCon. The bar owners were told they would lose out on the day’s lucrative revenues if they didn’t pay up, the lawsuit charged.
The plaintiffs — who sell tickets to SantaCon events across the country — want to continue their association with the yearly event without interference, and complained their business “from other holiday-themed pub crawls across the country” was also negatively impacted by the other claimant.
“’SantaCon’ is commonly used by many individuals, businesses, and in domain names,” the plaintiffs alleged. “Participatory could not have claimed exclusive rights to the SantaCon mark, because of the multiple uses of the term in the United States and around the world, and it could not claim a first use date of 1994 since Participatory did not come into existence as a corporation until October 2014.”
Attempts to reach Participatory Safety via emails listed on its website were unsuccessful, and the company had no listed phone number. The non-profit arts organization says on the site that it is committed to “funding and security artistic participation in New York City.”
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