bass pale ale Our old domain name, "" which was associated with Alembic since 1993, now takes you to the nice people at Bass, PLC in England.

What happened?

Back in 1993 we wanted to have our own domain name. Mica Wickersham called our internet service provider (ISP) and wanted to register "" but found that another company, Alembic Systems in Colorado, had registered the name a few months earlier. Surprised, she asked if "" was available, as that is our principle line of business. The ISP didn't even want to check, but at Mica's insistance, he did and from that moment on we became "".

We were communicating with customers via email to "" and even had our NAMM show badges printed with our email addresses! We were preparing our website when our ISP notified us that they had received a notice from Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) stating that there was a dispute about our right to the domain name "". This was really suprising to us since when we acquired that domain name, the rules were first come, first serve. Now somebody else wanted our domain name.

In March of 1996, after a lot of investigative work by Ron Wickersham, we discovered that G.H.Bass, owned by Phillips Van Heusen (PVH), wanted the domain name "" to promote their line of shoes, handbags and leather goods. They also filed to obtain the domain names "" and "" under NSI's new rules that gave preference for domain names to registered trademark holders. We knew that nobody on the planet would ever confuse a shoe with a bass, but that's when we realized we needed the services of an attorney and hired Davis and Schroeder

After months of negotiations with the PVH attorneys, and an appearance on MSNBC's The Site, we prevailed and they withdrew their claim. But since there are over 250 registered trademarks for the word "bass" in the united States alone, we decided that we would like to have "", the domain name we originally wanted. It was not practical for us to defend the name, even though there was no chance of trademark infringment. But under NSI's prevailing guidelines, we would have to address every claim as we did PVH's and that takes lots of money and even more time.

During the time we were negotiating with PVH, we discovered that Alembic Systems was purchased by another company, Optimal Object, and might not need their old domain name. Well, it took a bit of effort, but we managed to buy "" and that's why you're here now. We sold "" to Bass Ale in England. After all, they have the oldest trademark on the planet and they make great beer! The people at Bass Ale are great and even agreed to forward all our "", "" and "" messages forever. We worked out our differences in the cooperative spirit of the internet and everone involved got exactly what they deserved :-) .

Our new domain name, "" became ours on March 7, 1997.

The following people were of immeasurable service in helping us defend "" while we owned it and in acquiring ""

  • Chris Huston - the admin & technical contact of the previous registration of who coordinated the transfer of "" to us.
  • Terry Critchley from Bass.PLC in England who contacted us about our use of
  • Robert T. Daunt and G. Gervaise Davis III - our attorneys who coordinated just about everything
  • Richard Hilleman - who told us about Bass Ale's trademark
  • Peter Graumann - who produced the segment of "The Site" that featured this issue
  • Susan Wickersham - for tolerating Ron and Mica being sucked into the domain name void
  • Jim Underhill - for selling us ""
  • Bill Thomas - for encourging us in our darkest hours
  • Ken Gardner and John Zicker - for negotiating pointers
  • Julie Nichols - for helping us wade through the legal stuff at NSI

For more information about the larger domain name dispute issue and other internet matters, check out the CyberCouncil page.

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